Athletics have often come with many stigmas. Whether it be that they require running on two feet, jumping, using your vision, balance, use of both hands, or even hearing. However, as adaptive sports come to rise, these stigmas have become less evident. Luckily these sports have become more inclusive to everyone, with activities such as wheelchair basketball or sled hockey growing in participation.
Lisa Jennings, the Director of the Office of the University President, has dedicated much of her life to spreading awareness of adaptive sports. Jennings and her family, including her son who is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, founded the organization Athletes Roll in 2016. Athletes Roll focuses on supporting and promoting adaptive sports. Jennings’ son, Anthony, actively participated in traditional sports until his mobility became limited upon entering college.
“As it progressed, we didn’t know there was anything that he could do sports wise, but we wanted to keep trying.”
It was then that adaptive sports occurred to Jennings as a perfect alternative. When Anthony began playing power soccer and resumed his passion for sports, Jennings knew that she had to spread the awareness of equal opportunity sports. Jennings applied for a grant through the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office for adaptive sports and began her work through advertising that “everyone can.” As a result of her persistence, the first Adaptive Sports Showcase was held on April 25, 2019.
At the Adaptive Sports Showcase, organizations that support adaptive athletics and athletes of all kinds will have the opportunity to participate. Participants will be given the chance to learn about a number of different accessible sports, including Jennings’ personal favorite, sled hockey.
“You may have limited mobility, or sight, or hearing but there is a way you can participate and compete,” said Jennings.
The second Adaptive Sports Showcase will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on November 9 at the Stan Spirou Field House, inside the Athletic Complex.