Sports and Rec Management/Kinesiology Team Offer Adapted Sports Day
Adapted Sports Day gave participants a chance to play sports and experience college life.
Clinics in the adapted sports of power soccer, Paralympic soccer, and Kinball soccer were held during the recent Adapted Sports Day, at University Park.
Adapted Sports Day was a free event geared toward middle school and high school students with physical disabilities encouraging the idea that anything is possible, from involvement in sports to attaining a college education. Adapted Sports Day was actually a two-day event, thanks to a partnership with JMU Athletics.
On Friday, Sept. 27, the students had a meet-and-greet opportunity before the JMU men's soccer match, and then watched the match. During halftime, the Adapted Sports Day participants were featured on the field with a demonstration to show fans that sport is possible for people of all abilities.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, participants took part in soccer activities and had the chance to experience life as a college student during the all-day event. Power soccer was highlighted for participants who use power wheelchairs, as well as Paralympic soccer for participants who are ambulatory and walk independently or use walking aids. Additionally, Kinball soccer was featured, which is a game created for participants who use manual wheelchairs.
Participants enjoyed lunch at East Campus Dining Hall, then returned to University Park for soccer matches. The day concluded at 3 p.m. with participants having the opportunity to speak with professors, students, a FROG orientation leader, and representatives from the Office of Disability Services.
Adapted Sports Day was made possible through an Innovative Diversity Efforts Award IDEA) diversity grant from President Alger’s office. Dr. Joshua Pate (School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management) and Dr. Thomas Moran (Department of Kinesiology) collaborated to submit a proposal for the IDEA grant and were awarded funding to host a fall Adapted Sports Day and a spring Adapted Sports Day.
Dr. Pate explains, "Adapted Sports Day has two goals: (1) to show middle school and high school students with physical disabilities that college is an option, and more specifically JMU is an option for them to pursue higher education; and (2) to show that sport is an option. Sport and physical activity are powerful tools that empower individuals, and that has been proven in some of the most remote places around the world.
“Previous research has shown that physical activity enhances confidence and ability among individuals with disabilities. We hope to use adapted soccer to empower youth in making critical decisions for their future — whether it be attaining a college education or becoming more active in sport. And we can do that here on the campus of JMU. We hope that Adapted Sports Day will promote JMU as a college option for these individuals, but more holistically promote that they have choices in how their future goals can be attained."
He went on to say, "This event was a wonderful product of collaboration across disciplines and across campus. We had professors from sport management and from kinesiology. We had JMU student volunteers from those respective programs, as well as from other programs across campus. Students from the University of Maryland came down to volunteer and gain experience at the event. The Office of Disability Services was on site to speak with participants and their families. JMU Athletics was in full support of the event and offered its services to promote the event during the men's soccer match. And UREC committed its full support of the event through providing use of University Park as a host facility and pledging to work together in the future. Bringing individuals and departments together for this event can only benefit JMU and the participants who were on campus for the event."