Alabama Adapted Athletics continues historic run with wheelchair basketball titles


CW / David Gray

(Photo by David Gray)

Kenneth Jones, Contributing Writer

Alabama football has always been king in Tuscaloosa. The program claims 18 national championships, which is more than anyone else in the FBS. 

Now, the Crimson Tide’s adapted athletics has more titles than the football program. On March 11, the women’s wheelchair basketball team won its ninth championship against The University of Texas at Arlington. On March 18, the men’s wheelchair basketball team won its fourth championship against The University of Arizona. 

The wheelchair tennis team is currently seeking its eighth championship. The NCAA National Team Championships will start on May 19. 

The entirety of Alabama adapted athletics now combines for 20 national championships, two more than its football counterparts. The most interesting thing about this is that the program was founded in 2003. 

The associate director and co-founder of the adapted athletics program, Margaret Stran, attributes the buy-in as the reason for the program’s dominant run. 

“We have a full-time strength and conditioning coach, a full-time athletic trainer,” Stran said. “That means our athletes are in better physical shape and are less likely to get injured, and if they do get injured their recovery is quicker.” 

Stran said that they also have a team doctor, a team chiropractor and a sports psychologist. 

Aside from staff, Stran pointed out how good of a selling point the facilities are. 

“When you talk to the students, a lot of the reasons they come here are the facilities, because we do it better than other programs,” Stran said. “No other program has this, this is our space. Tennis has their own space, basketball has their own space. Nobody else has that.” 

The players may come for the facilities, but they stay for the culture. It’s uncommon to see an adapted athletics student athlete on campus who isn’t wearing a shirt that says, “wheelchair basketball” or “wheelchair tennis.” Stran made the reason for this clear. 

“They’re proud to be at Alabama. They’re proud to represent Alabama. It’s really fun to be around people who have similar passions as you,” she said.  “Obviously, what unites them is sport, but it’s also nice to be around other people who use a wheelchair.”

Alabama adapted athletics will next compete on April 8 at 11 a.m. CT, when the wheelchair tennis team travels to Parker-Haun Tennis Facility to take on ABC Medical.will take on ABC Medical at the Parker-Haun Tennis Facility.