Monthly Archives: August 2013

Wheelchair Football Season Gearing Up

wheelchair football

Developed by the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs in Atlanta, Georgia, wheelchair football, the American kind of football that is, has become a burgeoning adapted sport. Reason being – it’s fast and really fun. Players get to see a lot of action because there’s typically only six players from each team on the field at the same time.

The sport is definitely modified too. Tackling has been removed and players only play on a standard basketball court, not a full size football field, to make it easier for the players to wheel up and down without getting exhausted by the second quarter.  If you’ve never seen wheelchair football in action before, here’s your chance.  Check out three wheelchair football videos we love below.

Our first video comes from the New England Paralyzed Veterans of America.  It shows a wheelchair football team sponsored by the New York Giants playing an exhibition game at Gillette Stadium, with a fiery coach and dozens of players eager to play.  It’s only 2:47 minutes long, but it gives you a great idea of what a game is like an action.

After the coach fires everybody up, the players begin playing their exhibition game, with the video showing plenty of offensive clips.  It’s awesome seeing a quarterback in a wheelchair chuck a football successfully downfield into the hands of another wheelchair-user.  Watch the paralyzed veterans show how it’s done

Our second video, brought to you by the Movin’ Mavs, a wheelchair basketball team at the University of Texas at Arlington, shows what it’s like when they get together to play wheelchair football with a wide variety of people, including able-bodied students.  It’s a quick video, but it gives an overview of all the rules so you can see what’s different and what’s the same regarding the able-bodied version.

At the end of the video, one of the players is interviewed and he doesn’t hold back when it comes to certain rules of the sport he doesn’t agree with. What’s cool though is that while he doesn’t agree with all the rules, he still shows up to play.  Watch highly competitive wheelchair basketball athletes play wheelchair football

Our last video is a great collection of awesome wheelchair football moments brought to you by OSM Sports Wheelchair Sports Center.  What they’ve done is combine 10 of their favorite wheelchair football moments.  It shows some pretty sweet stuff, from epic full length field catches to slick catches that almost didn’t happen. Do these guys love this sport? There’s no question. Make sure to look for the cute touchdown pose at the end. Watch

And for a bonus, here’s the “greatest touchdown catch ever,” including a very excited player’s touchdown spike. So awesome. Watch

Wheelchair football may still be not widely played like wheelchair basketball is, but it’s definitely growing, with lots of tournaments on the West Coast.  The sport is great for power chair users too, although the rules are a bit different.  To learn more about wheelchair football and see if you can play, click here

Have you played wheelchair football?  What you love about the sport?

Watch the videos!

New Englanders playing wheelchair football in manual chairs

The basics of wheelchair football from the Movin’ Mavs at University of Texas at Arlington

10 awesome wheelchair football game moments

 

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SCI Superstar: Josh Cassidy

josh

No, you’re not looking at Paul Walker in a wheelchair. You’re looking at one of the fastest wheelchair racers in the world, Josh Cassidy, winner of over 75 marathons and  breaker of the world record in wheelchair racing at the Boston Marathon last year.  Faster than a speeding bullet?  Almost. He can get up to 45 miles an hour going downhill.

And this fascinating athlete has quite the back story, learning how to push himself at a young age after overcoming a childhood illness. To learn more about the man who makes wheelchair racing cooler than school, check out our love fest on Josh Cassidy below.

Why he’s fearless

Out of the womb, Josh Cassidy has known life with struggles. After being misdiagnosed with spinal bifida when he was first born, doctors realized he had a rare form of cancer when he was just a few weeks old, and by two months he was undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. But the treatments worked, despite leaving him paralyzed in his lower extremities.  He can still feel his legs a bit, and can walk short distances, but Josh Cassidy, now 29, uses his wheelchair most of time.

As he grew into an adult in his home town near Toronto, Canada, Josh Cassidy discovered wheelchair racing and hasn’t looked back.  In 2009, he entered one of his first big races, The Tyne Tunnel 2K International, an epic wheelchair race through a tunnel in Newcastle, England that attracts the best wheelchair racers in the world.

He also began competing at marathons at home whenever he could, winning the Ottawa marathon several years in a row since 2009, and in 2010 he won the London Marathon. He’s currently the Canadian record holder in the 15000m, the 5000m, the 10000m and marathon.

But wheelchair racing is a very expensive sport. A chair can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000, and Josh Cassidy is not a wealthy man. He always has to make sure he has his ducks in a row to compete.  And in 2012, he broke the world record for wheelchair racing at the Boston Marathon with a time of 1:18:25, making him the wheelchair racer to beat on the planet.

Josh Cassidy simply lives for racing, and he participates in marathons all over the world, from the Berlin Marathon to the Seoul Marathon, and he participated in the London 2012 Paralympics. He’ll even frequently train in France and Australia to mimic climate conditions that he’ll experience when in a marathon. Make no mistake, Josh Cassidy is one heck of an athlete.

What’s next?

Back at racing again, Josh Cassidy was in the news again for the 2013 London Marathon, but not for winning this time but for being bowled over by a female wheelchair racer after she lost control, which severely ruined his race time and damaged his wheels. After the race Josh Cassidy was quite upset, telling race organizers they need to create better ways to avoid such crashes from happening again in the future.

And Josh is also launching a career as a motivational speaker.  He’d already involved in some important organizations like Sick Kids, that helps kids with cancer, as well as a new project he’s involved in where he’ll be a mentor to young athletes with disabilities, helping them launch their skills and giving them money to support their careers as athletes.  Watch a great interview with him about this program in HD or CTV

Busy mentoring, still competing in a couple marathons every month (he just finished up the 100m at the Sydney track classic with the time of 15:28) and looking forward to the Parapan-Am Games being in Toronto in 2015, who knows next where Josh Cassidy’s racing career will take him.

Visit his official site: JoshCassidy.com

Have you tried wheelchair racing?  How hard is it?

Watch the videos!

Josh Cassidy motivational speaking

Josh Cassidy on CTV Ottawa Morning Live

Josh Cassidy winning the 2012 Boston Marathon

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