New adapted sports program at WKU | New

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There are fewer than 30 college adapted sports programs nationwide, but Western Kentucky University will join that group this fall.

Thanks to a partnership between the Bowling Green Parks & Recreation department and WKU Campus Recreation and Wellness, the university will launch its first sports program for students of all levels on October 24.

Events hosted by the new sports club will take place at the Preston Center and the WKU Intramural Complex. While the number of sports on offer is still being planned, club president Maddie Duncan has said basketball, baseball and tennis will be in the game.

The program came to fruition thanks to Duncan and Cameron Levis, an instructor for special populations in the city’s parks department.

Levis, who helped run the city’s parks department’s adaptive sports program, said the WKU club would be an extension of the parks department’s work with special populations in the community.

“We’re excited to make an announcement on something we’ve been working on for a few years. With our current adapted sports program, we serve young people and adults. So it’s that common ground in trying to serve people who want to participate in adapted sports that are between high school and the end of their college career. “

Levis and Duncan have worked to make the program an official sports club at WKU, the kick-off of this semester.

“There are a lot of implications for what this means for people with disabilities in higher education,” Levis said. “… For us, starting something like this is a huge opportunity. It will be the first of its kind in the state of Kentucky.

He also said the program will be an important tool in recruiting students of all levels to WKU. Levis pointed to a University of Michigan study that estimated that more than 62,000 people under the age of 18 in the United States participated in adapted sports.

With less than 30 college adapted sports programs in the country, Levis said this is an opportunity for WKU.

“We’re excited to add another program this fall, and I hope one of those people looking for a suitable sport comes to a great university that is WKU,” he said. “It will give people a reason to come to this school. The impact of this program will go far beyond anything any of us can imagine for years to come. “

Duncan acted as the primary liaison and resource person between the Parks Department, where she is completing her internship, and WKU, where she is a student.

She said the idea came from her love for working with the community through the parks department’s adapted sporting events.

“I think this is a really important program because it will open up a whole new section of people who might not be able to get off campus,” Duncan said. “It will bridge the gap for them and open up a whole new population that we can reach. Can’t wait to introduce it to a new group of people who haven’t seen it.

The new sports club currently has several wheelchairs designed for basketball and equipment for goal ball and baseball. She also recently wrote a grant with the United States Tennis Association to secure funding for additional tennis equipment.

On October 24, the organizers will present the sports offered to students this semester. The event will take place at the Preston Center.

While Duncan is expected to graduate in December, his goal is to make sure the program gets off the ground and gets off to a good start.

“I think everyone is really excited to have a program like this on campus,” she said.

To start a sports club at WKU, a counselor who works full time on campus must approve and oversee the club. That’s where Matt Davis, assistant director of the Student Accessibility Resource Center comes in.

Davis grew up in Bowling Green with a disease called spina bifida, which requires him to use a wheelchair regularly.

He said he previously had to travel all the way to Nashville to get involved in adapted sports, but now new sports club and parks department programs have located accessible activities.

“It’s really exciting to see these programs come together,” said Davis. “If you are physically active, it also helps you mentally. It is huge for those who are disabled. We just want students to get involved in these programs. You don’t have to have a disability to get involved.

Davis said anyone interested in the program can contact him at [email protected] or Levis at 270-393-3265. Additional information can be found by contacting Campus Recreation and Wellness.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

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