As per the report, Virginia Tech’s only adaptive athletics team is the wheelchair tennis team. Adaptive athletics refers to recreational or competitive sports for people with disabilities. The lack of adaptive sports on campus has prompted the wheelchair tennis team to create a lasting impact on the university.
Recently, the Adapted Athletics Association hosted two major events: the New South Wales Wheelchair Open and the Canberra Wheelchair Open. These events provided an opportunity for adaptive athletes to showcase their skills and compete at a high level.
The article highlights that Virginia Tech Recreational Sports collaborated with the university’s men’s varsity tennis team to establish a wheelchair clinic, which is the first of its kind in the school’s history. Through this initiative, weekly wheelchair tennis clinics were organized, with athletes volunteering their time to teach adaptive athletes. This eventually led to the formation of a club sports team that now practices in these clinics.
One individual who played a significant role in starting these clinics is Frank Thompson. As a member of the men’s tennis team, he initiated these clinics as his eighth-grade community service project. Over time, more people joined, and now there are seven members on this real team.
Gaila Fosbinder, a sophomore engineering student at Virginia Techis also part of the wheelchair tennis team. She initially started playing tennis standing up but transitioned to an electric wheelchair due to her condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. Fosbinder’s passion for tennis was ignited by watching others play and have fun at a local park when she was young.
Fosbinder was recruited by Jason Harnett, head coach of United States Tennis Association’s wheelchair tennis program after they received a grant to expand their program at Virginia Tech. Thompson emphasizes that this opportunity didn’t exist for many disabled athletes in the past and expresses gratitude for being able to play his sport even in a wheelchair.
The article mentions that representation of disabled athletes is highly valued by the team. Physical disabilities do not hinder the skills required to play a sport, as demonstrated in the wheelchair clinics. These clinics have also influenced the creation of an Adaptive Recreation course at Virginia Techwhich aims to educate and provide opportunities for people with and without disabilities to play and compete in sports.
Fosbinder explains that wheelchair tennis follows most of the same rules as regular tennis, except for one difference: the ball can bounce twice during a game. This makes it possible for able-bodied individuals to easily participate alongside wheelchair users, promoting inclusivity and integration.
Looking ahead, Fosbinder hopes to see more clinics in the future and expand adaptive athletics beyond just tennis. He mentions Alabama’s wheelchair team, which has won six consecutive championships and is one of the largest in the United States. Fosbinder believes that growing adaptive athletics outside of tennis would bring more diversity to Virginia Tech’s campus, aligning with the university’s motto of “Ut Prosim” (That I May Serve).
The settlement, Virginia Tech’s wheelchair tennis team is making significant strides in promoting adaptive athletics on campus. Through their collaboration with other university teams and hosting clinics, they are creating opportunities for disabled athletes to participate in sports. Their efforts not only benefit those involved but also contribute to a more inclusive campus community.
As per the report: Collegiate Times – Wheelchair Tennis Team Serves as Virginia Tech’s Sole Adaptive Sports Team