RWSIR and the Georgia DOL open Roosevelt School

BlazeSports America congratulates the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) and the Georgia Department of Labor on the official opening of the Roosevelt School, a vocational rehabilitation facility on the Roosevelt Institute’s complex in Warm Springs, GA.  BlazeSports values our longstanding partnership with the Department of Labor and the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, and our shared purpose of empowering young people with disabilities through innovative, quality programming that contributes to successful academic, health, and vocational outcomes.

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In the News – Week of September 26

2011 Sitting Volleyball European Championships  

Charles Alastair Walker hopes to play hard at the 2011 Sitting Volleyball European Championships which start from October 9-15 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The 29-year-old double volleyball athlete joined the United Kingdom Sitting Volleyball National Team after a serious infectious illness damaged his spinal cord. The Aylesbury native is excited to participate in the Championships as Team Great Britain is expected to play against several European Sitting Volleyball powerhouses such as Serbia, Germany, and the Netherlands. Sitting Volleyball will be just one of 20 sports featured at the London 2012 Paralympics. For more information please visit: http://www.stainesguardian.co.uk/sport/9266738.Men_s_sitting_volleyball_team_out_to_impress/

2011 ParaGames Breda (PGB)

More than 3,000 athletes from 40 countries will participate in 2011 ParaGamesBreda (PGB) from October 6-9 in the Netherlands. PGB is the first sporting event for athletes with disabilities in Holland and it has rapidly become the biggest disability sports competition in Europe. The city of Breda and several Dutch Para Olympians are excited to hear that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has recognized and certified PGB. Two Dutch athletes – Johan Reekers (Para-Cycling and Sitting Volleyball) and Mirjam de Koning-Peper (Swimming) – are among top five athletes serving as ambassadors for the event. For more information please visit: http://www.paragamesbreda.nl/english

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9/11…we honor all those who made so many sacrifices for our freedoms

A decade ago, terrorists launched attacks on New York City and Washington, DC that ended 3,000 innocent lives. In the years that followed, American servicemen and women shipped off two wars. Thousands of them never came home, and thousands more returned with life-altering injuries.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, BlazeSports joins the country and the world in remembering the sadness and the sacrifice of that terrible day. We salute the continued bravery of our soldiers, sailors, and pilots, including the veterans with disabilities who have joined the BlazeSports family.

And while we grieve, we look to that day as a reminder of the best of us. The firefighters and police officers who rushed into the World Trade Center towers when self-interest would have them run away. The thousands who sifted through the still smoldering rubble in the hopes of pulling out one last survivor. The members of the American military who heard the call of their country and chose to answer it. The nation that, no matter how fractured it was before or became after, proved itself capable of unity and shared compassion.

Difficult times are still with us, but the memory of 9/11 offers us strength in addition to its sadness, hope in addition to its horror. This, BlazeSports remembers.

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In the News – Week of September 12

2011 International Paralympic Day  

London – the host city of the 2012 Olympic Games – organized International Paralympic Day, which provided a 12-hour spectacle of Paralympic Sport in London’s Trafalgar Square. Several Paralympic sports – Wheelchair Basketball, Powerlifting, Wheelchair Rugby, Rowing, Table Tennis – were introduced. The British public welcomed top British Paralympic athletes – Sam Scowen (Rower) and Ellie Simmonds and Sascha Kindred (Swimmers). Notably, Oscar Pistorius –  the double amputee 400m runner and Paralympic gold medalist – and Jerome Singleton, Pistorius’s rival, conducted a demo session on the North Terrace Track. The 10 sports that were introduced at the event will be part of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The event served to promote and raised public awareness of the 2012 Paralympic Games. Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor Boris Johnson as well as some high ranking politicians attended the International Paralympic Day event. For more information please visit http://www.london2012.com/events/international-paralympic-day-2011.php

2011 National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

President Barack Obama has pronounced September 2011 as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (COAM). This is a terrific time for organizations to raise awareness, recruit parents/caregivers and youth for program activities, and to let your community know about all of the great work that you’re doing! COAM offers the public the unique opportunity to raise awareness of the unprecedented epidemic of childhood obesity. The Let’s Move campaign initiated by First Lady Michelle Obama is one of the national programs dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity. Read more about the Presidential Proclamation here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/31/presidential-proclamation-national-childhood-obesity-awareness-month

2011 Wheelchair Tennis US Open

Esther Vergeer – the world’s top wheelchair tennis player – headed into this week’s Wheelchair Tennis US Open being held at Flushing Meadows – the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center – in New York City. The 21-year old Dutch player won the 2011 French Open Super Series becoming the world’s No. 4. The top eight men and women players are participating in singles, doubles, and quads play at the National Tennis Center, from September 8-11. The Dutch wheelchair tennis hero has dominated the women’s single over the past years as she hasn’t lost a singles match since 2003. Van Koot, Vergeer’s rival, strives hard to keep herself very competitive and to challenge Vergeer’s unprecedented domination. Koot hopes to play hard at the 2011 US Open to qualify for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. For more information please visit http://www.itftennis.com

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NCAA To Host Inaugural Inclusion Summit In Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS— In an effort to help shape future diversity and inclusion efforts within higher education and intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA will host its first Inclusion Summit, Monday, September 19 in Indianapolis.

Titled “Challenges, Champions and Collaborative Strategies Moving Toward a More Inclusive Culture,” the summit will bring influential leaders in higher education and advocacy groups together to engage in a dialogue that identifies measurable action-oriented outcomes and strategies.  The goal will be to advance an inclusive culture in intercollegiate athletics and higher education.

“The Inclusion Summit provides the NCAA with an opportunity to have face-to-face contact and dialogue with individuals in our membership and individuals from a variety of perspectives who can help us create and further inclusive policies and practices within the Association,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of membership and student-athlete affairs and the national office’s chief inclusion officer.

“With this first-time event, we will hear issues in detail and work toward possible solutions.   We’ve had the opportunity to reach out to some specific groups to get their feedback, which we believe were the first steps to having a successful summit.   Now we all come together to work toward change, which we believe will benefit our student-athlete population and hopefully all of higher education.”

The first part of the program will focus on identifying and discussing challenges.   Topics will include student-athlete disabilities; challenges for minorities; issues regarding gender equity; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) issues and challenges.

College and university presidents will lead the second section on successful best practices used in championing diversity and inclusion on their college campuses.   The third section will focus on attendees contributing to the development of a strategic plan that would seek to strengthen diversity and inclusion by building presidential engagement, enhancing the student-athlete experience and identifying the role of the national office in program identification and delivery.

In addition to Franklin, NCAA president Mark Emmert will provide the welcome and opening comments.   Other speakers include Eli Wolff, fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University; Ken Shropshire, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative; Donna Lopiano  president, Sports Management Resources, LLC; Pat Griffin, professor emirata, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and sports project consultant, The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network; John Peters, president, Northern Illinois University; Susan Martin, president, Eastern Michigan University; Javier Cevallos, president, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania; and Raynard Kington, president, Grinnell College.

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In the News – Week of September 6

2011 ESPYS Awards Recap

Two athletes with a disability were awarded the 2011 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award (ESPYS). ESPN recognizes individual and team athletic achievement.

Best male athlete with a disability

Anthony Robles – Selected as the outstanding wrestler of the 2011 NCAA Championships and celebrated a senior wrestling season of perfection – a 36-0 record at Arizona State University.

Best female athlete with a disability

Mallory Weggemann – Won the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships and broke nine world records.

For more information please visit: http://www.okmagazine.com/2011/07/2011-espy-awards-recap-winners/

2011 New Zealand Games

Australia’s Cameron Rahles–Rahbula won the Men’s Super G Standing Race and New Zealand’s Adam Hall took silver at the 2011 New Zealand Games held in Queenstown, New Zealand. Australia’s Melissa Perrine prevailed against UK’s Kelly Gallagher in the Women’s Super G Visually Impaired Race. The Para-skiing season will continue through until April 2012. For more information please visit: http://www.newzealand.com/int/article/winter-games-2011/

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