Husky Adapted Sport Club held their first event of the year with the Ryan Martin Foundation (RMF) on Thursday night. The two organizations hosted a wheelchair basketball clinic to spread awareness about the new club and the sport.
“The goal of today is trying something new,” Husky Adapted Sport Club President Kenisha Lee said. “Our mission statement talks about inclusiveness and this helps people of all abilities compete in sports.”
Guyer Gymnasium was full of participants as well as spectators. For a majority of the participants it was their first time competing in a chair.
“This is the first time adapted sports have been on campus,” RMF president Ryan Martin said. “Tonight we saw the potential of what this program could be for disabled students at UConn.”
In Husky Adapted’s short history their main goal has been adding members because the largest challenge adaptive sports programs face is gaining members. To combat this, Lee and the other founding members have been very active on social media.
“At first it was a little bit of a struggle,” Lee said. “But now we have been going for a few months now and have been adding members and have received recognition.”
Former UConn graduate student Michael Willie and Martin approached UConn in the spring of 2017 to start Husky Adapted Sport Club. The club officially started this fall and has close to 30 members. The club recently worked with the United States Olympic committee and RMF to receive funding for the wheelchairs necessary to play.
As they continue to build their base, Husky Adapted Sport Club’s next goal is to become an official club sport in the spring. Although the club does not have enough handicapped members to sport a full team, they will be allowed to field abled bodied individuals for the first two years of their existence while they recruit and add more handicapped members.
The UConn club sports website lists one of its goals is “to provide diversity in athletic competition at the University of Connecticut,” and Martin feels this is exactly what an adapted sports club will bring to UConn.
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.