Staying active isn’t easy, but junior Robert Scott is working to change that for athletes with disabilities at USC.
Scott has been in a wheelchair since he was 7 years old, but that hasn’t stopped him from playing sports.
“I’m a transfer student, and at junior college, I played wheelchair basketball,” he said. “It’s important for everybody to have access to athletics, especially for people with disabilities. It’s not just about being competitive, it’s a matter of taking care of your body and staying active.”
When Scott arrived at USC, he learned that there wasn’t a wheelchair athletics program. So Edward Roth, assistant dean and director of Disability Services & Programs, put Scott in touch with fitness coordinator Daralisa Cheung. Together, they formed the adaptive recreation program, which was recognized as an official student club by Campus Activities in March.
Their goal — providing opportunities to be active for students with disabilities.
“A lot of people want to play basketball or tennis or wheelchair rugby or get involved in aquatics or kayaking or rock climbing,” Roth said. “There are all sorts of adaptive things we can set up, and a variety of universities have one level or another of adaptive recreational equipment.”
Adaptive recreation is not just for people in wheelchairs. It is for anyone who cannot participate in a traditional university athletic offering for reasons ranging from a lung problem to paralysis.
“It’s an enriching part of life and allows them to have similar experiences that all students would have in enjoying a sports team and competition,” Roth said.
Still in the growing stages, the club is planning its first trip, a post-finals kayaking adventure at the UCLA Marina Aquatic center. USC’s program will team up with the already established program at the University of California, Los Angeles, especially for water-related activities.
Short-term goals include getting more members and raising money to buy sports wheelchairs so participants don’t need to have their own. The club will be applying for grants and reaching out to alumni in an effort to hit its $10,000 goal by the fall. Long-term goals include creating a robust program featuring weekly activities, intramural leagues and intercollegiate teams.
“The program is really dynamic and flexible,” Cheung said. “We’re here to support the students.”
For more information on the adaptive recreation program, contact Cheung at firstname.lastname@example.org or Scott at email@example.com.