Adaptive sports from USOPC to be featured at Women’s Final Four

Adaptive sports from USOPC to be featured at Women’s Final Four

Halftime of the Women’s NCAA Tournament Championship on Sunday will feature the first of four initiatives meant to promote adaptive sports this year. At Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Team USA women’s wheelchair basketball team will face a team of college all-stars in an eight-minute scrimmage. This exhibition is part of the joint U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee/NCAA Para-College Inclusion Project, which aims to increase awareness of Paralympic sports and engage schools with adaptive sports.

Courtney Ryan, a Paralympic bronze medalist and member of the U.S. team for Paris, expressed excitement about the opportunity to showcase women’s wheelchair basketball at the NCAA D1 Women’s Final Four. As an assistant coach at the Univ. of Arizona, Ryan emphasized the importance of visibility and inclusion for Paralympic athletes. Sharing the stage with NCAA athletes is seen as a significant step towards gaining respect and awareness for wheelchair basketball.

Several Paralympic medalists, including gold medalists Rebecca Murray and Natalie Schneider, are set to play for Team USA in the scrimmage. Paralympic bronze medalists Bailey Moody and Zoe Voris will represent the Collegiate All-Stars for their respective university programs. The project will also feature the national collegiate singles wheelchair tennis championship during the Division I singles championship in May and the national collegiate wheelchair championships in the 100 meters during the Division I outdoor track and field championships in June.

In addition, the USOPC and NCAA plan to launch a hub for adaptive sport athletes, providing information targeted at high school athletes and college administrators to help grow Paralympic sports. This initiative aims to increase understanding and awareness of adaptive sports and promote inclusivity within the athletic community.

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