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In 2008, I achieved my greatest athletic goal. I became a Paralympian. Shortly after I joined Team USA, I like most elite athletes, attended a media training session. I nervously sat in a beige hotel conference room, staring at the abstractly-designed carpet beneath my feet. 20 Paralympians surrounded me, representing almost every Paralympic sport. Gold medalists, world-record holders, the poster-children of the Games – we breathed the same air. Suddenly, the leader of the session walked in and began to speak.
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This month we celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) 25th anniversary! The ADA was created in 1990 to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as people without disabilities. This includes the opportunity to live a healthy life!
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In this month of July in which we celebrate the 25th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there have been many small events that are instrumental in reflecting the benefits of ADA. One of those events was the Academy Award nominated documentary film called “Murderball.” It was on July 8, 2005 that it was released nation-wide to mainstream audiences. The impact of this documentary is still being felt today.
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Back in October of 2014, NCHPAD, along with President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition launched an initiative to make a commitment to inclusion. Since that time this initiative has grown even stronger.
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With the 25th year of celebration for the Americans with Disabilities Act in full swing, I would be remiss if failed to mention a historical event that very much smacks of the rewards and benefits of the ADA.
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April 15-19 saw the Kentucky Expo Center (KEC) in Louisville, KY as the host to the largest wheelchair basketball competition in the sports illustrious history. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) was represented by nearly 70 teams across 5 different divisions in what was some of the most fantastic athletic competition around. Some twelve courts were laid down in the expo center with wheelchair hoops going on for nearly 4 days in what seemed like around the clock action. Vendors, fans, and athletes alike all showed up full of energy for what turned out to be a fantastic event.
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The world met Lauren Hill. She was a college basketball player who realized a dream of playing for Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 19 year old achieved her goal while battling brain cancer.
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On April 17-18, we hosted an event at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, that we call Ability Olympics with the mission of showing how everyone can be an athlete. I work with Dr. Tom Moran on this event (he does weekly programming for youth with disabilities to stay physically active), and our goal has been simple: provide sport opportunities to people with disabilities because we did not have those opportunities growing up.
Tagged with: athletes disability exercise health inclusion Physical Activity sport wheelchair
When we think of adaptive sports, also known as sports for people with disabilities, we usually think of wheelchair basketball, which not only has an international following, it’s also a Paralympic sport. However, basketball is not the only adaptive sport out there; there is also wheelchair rugby, Goalball for the visually impaired, cycling, and tennis, all of which are also Paralympic events.
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In a recent USA Today article the US surgeon general states that he will soon make a call to action for people to be walking. This of course includes all people even those with limb loss. More importantly all people with disabilities.