by Jessica Che
Student Athletic Trainer
The Aztec Adaptive Sports Showcase was an event that was put on by the Aztec Adaptive Sports RSO. The organization works to introduce and promote adaptive sports to the students of SDSU, as well as communities around San Diego. Their ultimate goal is to bring a collegiate level adaptive sports program to California, making it the first of its kind here on the west coast and creating equal physical fitness opportunities at SDSU for all athletes at any level of ability.
Working the Adaptive Sports Showcase was really exciting for me because I've never worked an event like this before and I was given the opportunity to help provide care for athletes with physical disabilities under my preceptor, Stacy Struble. The showcase allowed me to see first-hand how important it is for Athletic Training students to be involved in this avenue of physical fitness because of the different things we have to consider as medical providers. For example, the seats can vary based on an athlete's classification of functional ability in wheelchair basketball. A higher backrest would allow for an athlete to have more stability, which is important for someone who has less function in their trunk and lower extremity. It also showed me that the demand is continuing to rise significantly in this field. We had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Margaret Stran, who is one of the founders of the Adaptive Sports program at the University of Alabama and a decorated wheelchair basketball player, coach and rower. She talked to us about the new Adaptive Sports facility they just opened at UA and how impactful the program has been for the University since its start, winning multiple national championships. She even hinted at the fact that they were currently looking for an Athletic Trainer to fill the position at their new facility. J I also had the pleasure of meeting Lex Gillette, a two time Paralympic Silver medalist and world record holder in Long Jump who is blind. We chatted about what he had been up for the last few months, such as speaking at events across the nation and motivating others to realize who they can truly become and of course training hard for Tokyo. We also spoke about how the DJ for the event was on point with his music selection. I later found out that Lex was also an amazing singer when he blew us away with the National Anthem!
The biggest take away for me from this event was seeing the drive and determination of the athletes and how physical activity has played a pivotal role in motivating them to participate and continue training at elite levels. This reiterates the goal of the showcase; all athletes should have equal play opportunity and that a baller is a baller, no matter what. This event was a huge step forward in bringing the first collegiate adaptive sports program in California and I am extremely thankful to have been able to take part in it.
"Can you ball?!"