USA Boccia in BISFed World Championships


USA Boccia Logo



Competition begins September 22


Atlanta, GA – BlazeSports America/USA Boccia is the High Performance Management Organization for the Paralympic sport of Boccia and will be sending five athletes to Beijing, China for the 2014 Boccia World Championships. Sanctioned by BISFed (Boccia International Sport Federation) the World Championships will run from September 19-27 and are the last major Boccia competition prior to the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Competition begins on September 22.       

The event will feature 172 competitors from 31 nations and will take place at the facilities of the China Administration of Sports for Persons with Disabilities (CASPD).

“The 2014 national team is the best we have ever sent to a World Championship.  Our BC1/BC2 team is ranked #14 in the world and Austin Hanson, our BC3 player, is ranked #9 in the world,” said Jeff Jones, high performance director for USA Boccia. 

The 2014 USA Boccia World Championship Team includes:    

  • Rafael DeJesus  BC2  (Valley Stream, NY)
  • Austin Hanson   BC3  (Topeka, KS)
  • Marck Harrison BC2  (Columbus, OH)
  • Brigid Mason     BC2  (Naperville, IL)
  • Cornelius Oatis  BC1  (Columbus, OH)

      Head Coach:  Mark Flora- Swick (Gardner, KS)
      Team Leader: James Thomson (Bay Shore, NY)

      Sport Assistants

  • Fiona Allen  (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • Gary Barraclough (Topeka, KS)
  • Troy McPherson (North Baldwin, NY)
  • Tracey Oatis (Columbus, OH)
  • Ken Siderine (Patchogue, NY)



  USA Boccia now has a Facebook page to allow you to follow all the action at the world championships.



About Paralympic Boccia

The competitive sport of boccia is overseen by the Boccia International Sport Federation (BISFed) which is based in Hertfordshire, UK.


Today Boccia is a played competitively at national and international level in more than 50 countries by athletes who require a wheelchair because of their disability.  Boccia was originally played by athletes with cerebral palsy, but now includes athletes with other disabilities which affect motor skills. Boccia was practiced for many years as a leisure activity until it was introduced at the New York 1984 International Games for the Disabled as a competitive sport.

At Paralympic level, Boccia is one of only two sports which do not have an Olympic counterpart, the other being Goal Ball which is specific to athletes with a visual impairment.

All events are mixed gender and feature individual, pair and team competitions. The game consists of four rounds in individuals and pairs competitions and of six rounds in the team competition. It is played on a hard surface, and the goal is to throw the game balls so that they land as close as possible to a special target ball, which is called the “jack.”

At the London 2012 Games, 104 athletes competed in seven medal events.

About USA Boccia

USA Boccia is a program of BlazeSports America, the legacy organization of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games and is the USA member of Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed). USA Boccia is the High Performance Management Organization for Boccia designated by the United States Olympic Committee.

USA Boccia is responsible for five key areas of program development for the sport, including: Athletes: Identification, Recruitment and Retention; Coaching Development; Training; Competitions; and Organizational Leadership.

About BlazeSports America 

BlazeSports America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, that changes the lives of children and adults with physical disabilities worldwide through sport.  Formed in 1993, as the direct legacy of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Paralympic Games, BlazeSports programs and services encourage lifelong health, build leadership skills, foster independence and inclusion, and promote an inclusive society. BlazeSports is the member of United States Olympic Committee – Multi-Sport Organization, the High Performance Management Organization for Boccia in the U.S. and the USA Member Organization of Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association. For more information about BlazeSports, visit

For more information contact Jeff Jones, USA Boccia High Performance Manager at 404-270-2036 or



Posted in Boccia, Featured |

UK Sport and Cultural Exchange kicks off in Washington D.C.

BlazeSports America and UK Sport Exchange participants arrived in Washington, D.C. to kick off the BlazeSports UK Sport and Cultural Exchange project in collaboration with the US Embassy in London.    Seven young people with physical disabilities from the UK along with BlazeSports staff will participate in an incredible experience integrating the two cultures – UK and the US. The Exchange group will spend time in Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA and Montgomery, Alabama,  The purpose of the exchange is… to learn various ways to promote cultural integration between British and American citizens and civil society organizations.  This exchange will also focus on the role of disability sport in inclusion and society.

The 7 participants pose to a picture in the National Mall with the Capitol Hill as a background

The 7 participants pose to a picture in the National Mall with the Capitol Hill as a background

During their time in Washington, D.C. the members of the exchange will explore the Nation’s Capital, tour multiple American universities, participate in a disability awareness day ,and speak with various representatives, advocates, and educators of disability and inclusive sport development.

Here are a few highlights from Washington, DC: 

On the first day, the UK Sport Exchange was spent touring the beautiful city of Washington, D.C. and learning about one aspect of American culture. 

“We went into Washington, D.C. and went to famous sites like the U.S. Capital building, The White House, Abe Memorial, and the Washington Monument. It was such a great day, and I had such a laugh,” Stefan Hoggan, one of our seven participants said on Tuesday morning.

The following day, the Blaze UK Exchange group met with staff members of the United States Agency of International Development (USAID); Charlotte McCain-Mhlapo, Coordinator for Disability and Inclusive Development;Jill Moss, New Media Development and Internet Freedom Fellow; Maryanne Yerkers, Senior Civil Society Specialist, and Leah Maxson, Technical Advisor for Disability. The USAID is one of BlazeSports main funders for international sport development projects. The Exchange participants participated in a round table discussion talking about various topics, such as, the overall goal of USAID, disability rights, social media enforcement, and youth in sport development.

“It has been an incredible experience thus far, and I am looking forward to the rest of the trip. I am beyond thrilled with everything we have learned so far and can’t wait to bring new ideas to Scottish Disability Sport,” group leader, Jennifer Livingstone said.

The participants also had the opportunity to visit U.S. Department of State and Sports United to discuss topics on Sports Diplomacy

The group meets with Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) at the beautiful Georgetown University campus

The group meets with Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) at the beautiful Georgetown University campus

Initiatives. Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, Judith Huemann, facilitated a round table discussion, which gave participates the chance to discuss various policies, ask questions, and speak on behalf of their communities in Scotland.

For the remainder of the UK Sport Exchange, activities include a visit to Nationals Park, one of the most accessible MLB stadiums, a round table discussion with Maryland University government representatives, meeting with the Institute for Educational Leadership, and many other learning opportunities. 

Posted in Featured, Global Initiatives, International, News, Policy/Advocacy |

Celebrating Jon McCullough, 1965-2014

 Update on Jon’s Memorial Services

Here is the link to  Jon’s Obituary

Jon’s family will hold a Memorial Service on Saturday September 6th at 4pm in Virginia. RSVP is requested. 

Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center
600 4-H Center Dr, Front Royal, Virginia 22630
RSVP: Via Facebook event or

Join Us – BlazeSports’ Tribute to Jon McCullough – Monday Sept 8th at 3:30pm

Atlanta History Center, Centennial Room
130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, 30305
RSVP: By September 5 to

Light refreshments will be served.

Posted in Featured, News |

Team Blaze Racing at the Atlanta Dragon Boat Festival

atlanta_dragon_boat logo

Team Blaze will be participating in the Hong Kong Atlanta Dragon Boat Festival Saturday for the first time, September 13th. This unique race will be held at Lake Lanier where the 1996 Summer Olympic Rowing and Paddling events were hosted. Moving into its eighth year, the Atlanta event is part of a series of races taking place in major metropolitan areas along the east coast including Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York.

Our team, compiled of athletes, family members and staff, will be competing against 50 other teams with over 5,000 spectators that come out to join in the excitement and cultural experience.

If you would like to help sponsor Team Blaze, please find our fundraising page at

All funds raised will contribute towards the ongoing provision and development of sports programs and events for youth and veterans with physical disabilities in GA. Thank you for your support!

dragon DragonBoat close up dragonBOAT1

 Dragon Boat Festival History

“Based on an ancient Chinese legend, the Dragon Boat Festival has deep cultural ties, evidenced by the ceremony and ritual surrounding the races. Four days before a traditional festival, the dragon boats are taken from repose to have their heads and tails attached. Typically, a community leader is invited to “dot the eye” of the dragon in a ceremony designed to rouse its sleeping spirit. While in some cultures the dragon is considered to be evil, in Chinese culture dragons are viewed as strong, powerful and frequently a symbol for the spring rains and growth. Dragons are also viewed as protective and benevolent, which is why dragon boat racing is often thought of as a means of spreading good luck. In return for staging the dragon boat races, it is believed that the community will be blessed with happiness and prosperity.

The dragon boat itself is a spectacle to behold. The slim, 39-foot teakwood racer (and fiberglass models) is crafted today in only a handful of boat-yards in Hong Kong. Distinguished by a fierce-looking dragon’s head at the prow and a tail at the stern, traditional dragon boats require thirty days, three craftsmen, and years of practice to produce.”

For more information about the event or Team Blaze contact Kit at or call our office (404) 270 2000.

Posted in Featured, News, Support Us |

GA Disability Sport Awards 2014


Sunday Nov 9th 2014, 2pm – 5pm

Atlanta History Center

130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta,

GA 30305


Do you know an individual or team who should be recognized for their contribution to sport?


 Nominations for the 2014 GA Disability Sports Awards are now OPEN



Nominations will be accepted until Friday, October 10, 2014


BlazeSports America is proud to host this Awards Ceremony as we recognize individuals and teams in the following categories:

  • Male Junior Athlete: male athlete under the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Female Junior Athlete: female athlete under the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Male Adult Athlete: male athlete over the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Female Adult Athlete: female athlete over the age of 18 who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Male Military Athlete: male athlete who is either a veteran or active duty service member with a physical disability who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Female Military Athlete: male athlete who is either a veteran or active duty service member with a physical disability who participated in an individual or team sport

  • Junior Team: a team registered and actively competing in a youth league on the local, state or regional level

  • High School Team: a team registered and actively competing in a school league on the local, state or regional level

  • Adult Team: a team registered and actively competing in an adult league on the local, state or regional level

  • Volunteer of the Year: a person that volunteers in any capacity for an organization or program offering disability sports

  • Coach of the Year: a person that directly coaches an individual athlete, group of individual athletes or a team in disability sports

See the 2013 GA Disability Sports Award Winners 



Posted in Featured, News |

BlazeSports Announces the 2014 Adapted Sport, Training and Education Certification Conference – Register Now!

Posted in Featured |

$25K Raised and Matched! Thank You

Posted in Blog, Featured, Fund Development, News, Support Us |