Recreation is not only important to the quality of life for those living with a spinal cord injury, it is critical to their health and well being. The Lone Star Paralysis Foundation funds various adaptive (wheelchair) sports programs from basketball and tennis to kayaking and rugby here in Austin. Check back soon for our posted sports schedule!
Texas Regional Paralympic Sports
What is TRPS? Texas Regional Paralympic Sport (TRPS) is working in the Texas region to help grow grassroots opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to participate in ongoing adapted recreational and competitive sports programs.
The United States Olympic Committee works with the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation to support existing community programs by assisting with participant recruitment, hosting of camps and clinics, competitions, coaching education, and coordinating events and activities that are aligned with existing programs in the region. The goal of all activities within each region is to expand the availability of quality sport and physical activity programs for youth and adults with physical and visual impairments.
TRPS Mission: Dedicated to becoming the State leader in the Paralympic sports movement and promoting excellence in the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities.
Programs Offered: Texas Regional Paralympic Sport Program has six main programs that our resources are focused:
- Regional Competitions: We have successfully hosted the Texas Regional Games (TRG) for the past 5 years. The games have hosted well over 150 athletes each of the past 5 years. This event has always provided classification opportunity as well as an educational component for athletes and coaches. Additionally, we have hosted well over 15 smaller local competitions to give the athletes the experience and confidence to test their skills and potentially go to the next level. TRPS currently has over 20 competitions scheduled that they will either host or collaborate to host; including the Southwest Military Wheelchair Basketball League, Veterans to Victors Triathlon, USA Cycling Sanctioned Time Trial Series, Larry Turner Classic, Metal and Muscle Sports Expo, and many more.
- Sport Specific Camps and Clinic Educational Series: Approximately 140 educational sport clinics have been hosted over the past 5 years. These clinics are geared to both the athletes and the coaches, providing both an introduction to the specific sport for novice athletes as well as advanced training technique and skill development for the intermediate athlete. In 2016 we have over 25 clinics planned across the State of Texas.
- TRPS Adaptive Equipment Loan Program: TRPS currently has over 150 pieces of adaptive equipment loaned out to athletes with disabilities and adapted sports organizations across the State of Texas. This equipment resource serves as a way for an athlete to begin training in a particular sport and test out equipment options prior to ordering their own equipment. Adaptive Sports equipment is very expensive and this programs helps get an athlete started in sports without the huge cost of adaptive sport equipment.
- TRPS National Championship Grant Program: As an athlete begins to start training and competing for a specific sport, TRPS is there to guide them on their journey through the U.S. Paralympic rising elite pipeline. We offer funding support and coaching to athletes with disabilities from Texas who are active in our programs and have met the qualification standards to attend the respective U.S. Paralympic National Championship or WASUSA Junior National Championships. This program is still in its infancy and we are really starting to see athletes beginning to train 4-6 days a week to obtain their competition and life goals. We are very excited for the number of athletes from Texas that will continue to hit U.S. Paralympic National Team Standards. We know with the continuation of this program we will see more Texas athletes make it to 2016, 2018, 2020 and beyond Paralympic Games. We currently have over 45 Texas athletes with disabilities who are Paralympians. We are excited for the future of our Texas Athletes.
- State Wide Adaptive Sport Promotion and Recruitment: TRPS is the Regional Liaison to over 60 adaptive sports organizations that are active across the State of Texas. Providing announcements of upcoming events, adapted sport opportunities and other pertinent information via Facebook, website, and email blast. TRPS coordinates and keeps four state wide calendars up to date of ongoing sport opportunities. We provide assistance to new athletes on how, what and where to get involved. Our over 95 years of staff experience combined is used to assist all adaptive sports organization with programing, U.S. Paralympic resources, and overall enhancement and increase of adaptive sports opportunities across the State of Texas.
- Texas UIL School Based Adaptive Sports Inclusion Program: TRPS has been working with the University Interscholastic League (UIL) for the past 2 years. The UIL is the parent organization over all Junior High and High School Sports in Texas. Together TRPS and the UIL are bringing inclusion for athletes with physical disabilities to Junior High and High School sport programs. In October of 2013 TRPS and U.S. Paralympics proposed to the UIL to include wheelchair racing and seated throws in their UIL State Track and Field Meet. The proposal was accepted and 13 young athletes with disabilities were included on their 2014 High School track and field teams and given the opportunity to compete in District, Area, Regional and State competition. The first UIL State competition for these athletes was very successful, the positive reception and acceptance was amazing. During the programs second year (2015), we saw a 50% increase in participation with 26 athletes actively participating on their school based sport program. For the upcoming 2016 season we have approximately 18 returning athletes and have already received request from over 35 new athletes. These early numbers are shaping the 2016 season to be an even greater than 50% increase from last year.
TRPS continues to work with the UIL to support the coaches and athletes with coaching education, athlete clinics, and the equipment loan program for the sport of wheelchair racing and seated throws. Additionally, in October 2015, TRPS presented to the UIL Council to add additional events and disability groups to the track and field adapted events at the District, Area, Regional and State Meets. We also presented to add adapted divisions in the sport of swimming. While an outcome has not been given, we are hopeful that the council is looking closely at these additional opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities to be a part of the 2016-2017 seasons.
To assist with the development of young athletes with disabilities in the sport of track and field, there is a need for more assistance and development of community based adaptive track and field activities across the State. TRPS will assist with ongoing programming for State wide track/field programing. Track and Field is on a rise in Texas, due to the addition of wheelchair racing and seated throws into the UIL Track and Field teams. We are excited to work with coaches like our own, Wendy Gumbert (U.S. Paralympic National Team Coach for WC Racing), Paul Johnson (Former Junior National Team Coach under WASUSA), Darlene Hunter (Former USA Track/Field Team Member and current 2016 Rio Paralympic Basketball Team Member), Saul Mendoza (Paralympian and current US Armed Forces Coach) and Gabe Diaz de Leon (Paralympian and former US Paralympic National Team coach for Field). We will be providing 5 community programs across the State with quality coaching at each one. The goal of these programs is to prepare the high school athletes, military athletes and community athletes for their participation on their respective High School team or at Paralympic Regional events.
Texas Regional Paralympic Sport is excited to continue the amazing programs that they have started as well as our over 60 adapted sport partners. Texas is a very large State and we are excited to be the leaders for adaptive sports in the State of Texas!
Visit the TRPS website HERE
For more adaptive sport opportunities, check out: Service Providers of Adapted Sports
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