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Forest Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, December 4, 2006

Are You Ready For Some (Wheelchair) Football?


Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

Parks & Recreation teamed up with the United Spinal Association and the Forest Park Trust on November 16 to celebrate the opening of the first Wheelchair Football field in the State of New York.  Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Executive Director Paul J. Tobin and Director of Sports & Recreation Bill Hannigan of the United Spinal Association and former New York Giants fullback Charles Way to dedicate this field at Victory Field in Forest Park.

After the opening presentations, the field had its debut showing of the United Spinal Giants football team.  The scrimmage gave many spectators their first glimpse of Wheelchair Football.  In an intense exhibition, athletes with disabilities from around the City showcased the exhilarating adaptive sport. 

Wheelchair Football rules are adapted from 6-on-6 flag football.  The game is played on asphalt, which is easier to maneuver in a wheelchair.  The team, sponsored by the New York Giants and the United Spinal Association, will use Victory Field for practices and games.

Wheelchair Football began in the 1970’s.  The game has been adapted for players in wheelchairs, but the basic goals of the game are the same; get the football into the in-zone.  Wheelchair Football is growing in popularity around the country and is currently played in cities such as Cincinnati, Chicago, Lexington, Las Vegas, Austin and Santa Barbara.  In fact, there is so much excitement about the new field, it has already been scheduled to host practices, games and a football tournament that will take place in the spring.

“Parks is proud to add an official Wheelchair Football field to our other Accessible programs, which already include Wheelchair Basketball and Ballroom Dancing, Aquatic Therapy, and Playgrounds for All Children,” said Commissioner Benepe.  “It is one of the Parks Department’s highest priorities to help ALL New Yorkers discover how New York City’s 29,000 acres of parkland can enrich their lives.”

Parks has partnered with the United Spinal Association, a national membership organization enhancing the lives of people with spinal cord injuries and disorders. The Association sponsors a wide variety of wheelchair recreational and adaptive sports programs guided by the belief that the benefits of participating in sports are no different for athletes with disabilities than for able-bodied athletes. Membership is free and open to all individuals with disabilities of the spinal cord. More information is at www.unitedspinal.org or (800) 404-2898.

Parks’ goal is to provide access and opportunity.  Visit our website at www.nyc.gov/parks for more information on accessibility at Parks, including playgrounds, centers with programming and field trips, free Aquatic Therapy Instruction, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Ballroom Dancing, and Quad Rugby.

With contributions by Jonathan Matt

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

“If you’re mad at your kid, you can either raise him to be a nose tackle or send him out to play on the freeway. 

It’s about the same.”

Bob Golic
(1957 -  )

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