Tonight the University of Connecticut hosts its first ever adaptive sports program sponsored by Husky Adapted. This wheelchair basketball event on campus will be the first opportunity for current UConn students to participate in adaptive sports, as well as other regional athletes with disabilities who could someday call UConn at Storrs home.
This project has been months in the making and should be a point of pride for the University. It signals UConn is an accessible, inclusive campus. The Ryan Martin Foundation (RMF) presented UConn with top-of-the-line equipment to get this program started and has made a healthy contribution to a new scholarship endowment for student athletes with disabilities.
Each year, for the last several years, countless young athletes with disabilities have participated in RMF camps and our junior program. All of them have heard my personal experience with wheelchair basketball and what it has done for me. US Paralympian gold medalist Josh Turek has also echoed similar themes in his talks with our athletes.
As we share our stories with the next generation of adaptive athletes, we encourage them to carve out their dream, which we hope includes going to college. Having this program on campus has many benefits, but none as significant as encouraging their dreams. This summer, when RMF makes our rounds in Spain and the USA running camps, I want the athletes to see it's possible for dreams to come true. This program makes it a reality.
As a kid, my big dream was to be a professional wheelchair basketball player. Growing up, that dream evolved into helping young people with disabilities discover their potential as athletes. Kicking off this program is a real-life dream come true.
To all the athletes who we work with currently and all those whom we will work with down the road, your dreams can easily be your reality...go get ‘em!