David Kyle, a member of the 2015 EdD cohort and a faculty member at The University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), was recently awarded a grant to become a “satellite” location for the Ability Sport Network which originally began at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL. This grant was a result of connections David made last year while attending a Certified Disability Sports Specialist workshop that the Ability Sports Network (ASN) was hosting. After meeting the director of ASN, Dr. Lisa Dorman, the two quickly realized that they both had prior involvement with Paralympic sports and had a passion to teach adapted fitness to students.
The grant is funded by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) and serves 2 primary purposes. One is to provide sport opportunities for youth with disabilities that would not have the opportunity to play ambulatory/able bodied sports. The second purpose is to provide a learning experience for our kinesiology students. It’s literally a living laboratory on UAH’s campus where the students can have hands-on experiences leading and instructing adapted sports and other physical activities. The program is modeled after the original ASN program at Huntingdon College (http://asn.huntingdon.edu/).
The program will begin with wheelchair basketball and fall under NWBA rules with the goal of fielding a team that can play regionally within the first year (http://www.nwba.org/). UAH received the first shipment of basketball sport chairs last week! Currently, David is in the athlete/parent recruiting process and reaching out to local school systems to identify potential athletes. The great thing about this grant is that there is absolutely no cost to the athletes. Sport chairs, uniforms, and travel costs are all be covered. If funding is renewed next year, UAH will try to add more sports that may include Boccia, WC tennis, Para-track and field, and seated volleyball.
When asked about the program, David’s response was:
“Personally, this is exciting, to say the least. A large part of my job duties now consist of this program and UAH has really stepped up and supported the project. It’s just getting off the ground and there is a lot of building to do for things to be up and running…having practices, playing games, etc. and we are currently working on brochures and a website.”
Congratulations David and UAH!!!