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For Immediate Release
News Date: August 17, 2021

Event Gives Youth of All Abilities the Opportunity to Try Wheelchair Basketball, Learn About Adaptive Sports

COLUMBUS – A “Try It” event is designed to help youth of all abilities learn about wheelchair basketball, and the opportunity to participate in sports regardless of your physical and mental abilities.

Hosted by Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, the event gives participants the opportunity to play wheelchair basketball using adaptive equipment. Attendees also will meet and learn from Ohio’s own Cincinnati Dragons, 2021 National Junior Varsity wheelchair basketball champions, and hear from Paralympic gold medalist and Ohio native James Terpenning.

“Events like this are an important part in increasing understanding and confidence among our community,” said Mary Beth Moore, manager of Columbus Recreation and Parks’ Therapeutic Recreation Program. “This shows kids who would access adaptive sports what’s possible, and creates greater understanding among their families and peers.”

This event is designed for adaptive athletes ages 6-17, and equipment will be provided. There is no cost to attend, but advance registration is required. Register online by Aug. 15: bit.ly/3wxDNN3.

Saturday, Aug. 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Franklin Park Adventure Center
1755 E. Broad Street

The therapeutic recreation program is core to Columbus Recreation and Park’s mission to engage the community in recreational activities.

“Participating in sports helps kids stay active and healthy, build sportsmanship and other life skills, and connect with their peers,” said Paul Rakosky, interim director of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. “Every kid deserves access to these opportunities, regardless of their abilities, and our Therapeutic Recreation program helps make that possible.”

The event will feature new equipment that was made possible thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Ohio Beverage Association and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America. This grant will support youth wheelchair basketball, adaptive track and field, and sled hockey. It will help fund the purchase of athletic equipment such as wheelchairs, racing chairs and training rollers, support the purchase of monthly passes for accessible transportation for youth athletes and cover many of the fees for practice and play time in ice hockey rinks.

“The Ohio Beverage Association is committed to improving the communities where we live, work and play,” said Kimberly McConville, executive director of the Ohio Beverage Association. “We are thrilled to be part of this amazing opportunity for children in Columbus to play various sports, make friends and have fun regardless of ability. We believe that inclusivity and accessibility across all disciplines – sports and otherwise – are critical to our work to promote healthy choices, physical activity and wellness in the communities we serve.”

The grant request was submitted by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Foundation. The foundation works to enhance the recreational, educational and cultural life of the Columbus community by garnering support for department programs.

“This award will certainly help us to achieve our goals. I appreciate the generosity of the Ohio Beverage Association, along with the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America, and their support for the adaptive youth athletes in Columbus Recreation and Parks programs,” said Karla Rothan, Columbus Recreation and Parks Foundation Board President.

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