Sports opportunities for kids with disabilities

December 14, 2008 7:32:49 AM PST
Sports can be important to the development of children. It can also be important for children with physical disabilities. There are a number of adaptive sport activities provide by the park district's special recreation. A west suburban teenager learned there's some great sport opportunities available for disabled athletes that can lead to international competitions.

Two years ago, 16-year-old Joel Adams started playing wheelchair basketball.

"I'm point guard or shooting guard," Joel said.

Joel's legs were amputated when he was 3.

"When I was born there was congenital birth defect or something, and it didn't take place as soon as I was born, but over the years it. My legs didn't work properly, and my next course of action was being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life or get them amputated, so we chose to get them amputated," said Joel.

Always interested in sports, finding teams where he could compete was a problem until he learned about Western DuPage Special Recreation Association.

"I found out on the internet, because I was looking all over the place for wheelchair sports and all of them I found were in different states. I didn't know about WDSRA until I found them on the internet," said Joel.

This summer, Joel's athletic dreams got bigger after being selected to go to Beijing to watch the Paralympics Games.

"It was amazing, great experience, you know, seeing the culture, going to the Paralympics, seeing an event, and just going out of the country was fun," Joel said.

Joel's coach Trent Thenhaus says Joel has a great sport future but will need to step up if he wants to be selected for Paralympics.

"The Paralympics is based on your classification," said Thenhaus. "it's actually going to be harder for him to make the team, so what he needs to do is, he needs to train a little harder than those guys that have one leg amputees. Since he's a double leg it'll be a little tougher, but he has a good chance when he put the ability in dribbling the ball, passing the ball, which he picks up very well."

Inspired by his trip to Beijing, he is going to start trying out.

"There's a tryout in London next year, and so you go out there and you try out for the Paralympics. There's tryout every year, so you go out there and try out and try to make the cut," Joel said. "Hopefully I can make it in 2012 but if not I'll aim for 2016."

And hopefully that will be held in Chicago.

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association: http://wdsra.com/

Internatiional Paralympic Committee: http://www.paralympic.org


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