Thursday, May 23, 2013 - DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Wins National Championship

Media Contact:

Cheryl Angelelli


Welcome Home Celebration for team planned for Monday, April 29


DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan’s (RIM) wheelchair basketball team, the Detroit Diehards, are the 2013 National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s (NWBA) Division III National Champions.  The team defeated Tampa Bay in the finals Sunday, April 21 during the NWBA tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the team’s fourth appearance in the tournament and their first national championship win.

DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) will have a welcome home celebration for the team on Monday, April 29 from 12-1:30 pm in RIM’s auditorium located at 261 Mack, Detroit, MI 48201.

The Detroit Diehards were one of 24 Division III teams competing in the tournament held April 18-21, and the only team to go undefeated during tournament play.

RIM’s 8-member team is comprised of athletes with physical disabilities, aged 18 to 40 from throughout southeast Michigan. The team was 10-4 during regular season play and was ranked third going into the tournament.

Several team members also received special honors. Eighteen year-old, double amputee, Jesus Villa, who hit a game winning shot during the semi-final game, was named MVP of the tournament. Hurie Johnson was named to the 1st Team All-Tournament and Kevin Konfara and Deon Vereen were named to the 2nd Team All-Tournament.
The NWBA is comprised of over 200 wheelchair basketball teams within twenty-two conferences. Founded in 1948, the NWBA today consists of men's, women's, intercollegiate, and youth teams throughout the United States of America and Canada.

RIM has been sponsoring the Detroit Diehards since 2002. The team is supported through grants, donations, and fundraising events such as RIM’s annual “Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game,” (

DMC’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan is one of the nation’s largest hospitals specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The Institute is home to many innovative programs, including the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, a world-class facility designed to implement and study innovative treatments in spinal cord injury recovery. RIM is one of eight hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). The DMC is proud to be the Official Healthcare Services Provider of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Pistons.