FLORENCE — The huge ball shot forth as if from a cannon and pummeled surfaces with thunderous force, making the newbies wince and the long-timers grin.
Metal foot guards, not sneakers, propelled the sphere around the Fountain of Life Center gym during a wheelchair sport that’s just as action-packed as traditional soccer.
The 13-inch ball is slightly bigger than the regular one, and the athletes play in teams of four on a basketball court. But all the rules of regulation soccer apply.
You attack, you pass and you defend, according to player Jerry Frick.
“This isn’t an ‘everybody wins’ thing,” he said, whizzing around to spin-kick the ball across the court.
Frick and several other members of the U.S. Power Soccer Association gave pointers during a clinic at the Columbus Road church on Wednesday.
The Fountain of Life Center was the latest stop on the Indiana organization’s tour of the Northeast, where the players are introducing the sport to legions of power wheelchair users.
The 10 participants who showed up got their wheelchairs outfitted with foot guards and were escorted by Frick to an area where experienced players mentored the newcomers.
“We have a new victim,” joked Frick, who was rendered a quadriplegic after a 1989 motorcycle accident when he was 19....