Tired of reading about all that is wrong in youth sports? So are we! TeamSnap and I have teamed up for the Make It Right Campaign this fall to share stories with you of people who are doing what they can to Make It Right in youth sports.
There are lots of folks out there who are doing something to Make It Right in youth sports and in this Make It Right series, I’ve introduced you to five of them. Today, I’d like you to meet the last person in this series, and this is one who takes Making It Right to a whole new level.
Meet John Vcelka, a TeamSnap user since 2013, and the founder of Sports Abilities, an online resource helping people with physical disabilities find adaptive sporting activities around the United States.
What is John Vcelka Doing to Make It Right in Youth Sports?
John wants to be sure that everyone who wants to play sports, has that opportunity. And I mean everyone.
Sports Abilities was born out of John’s own desire to play sports. He grew up playing and trying a wide variety of sports and activities and eventually played club volleyball at Loyola University. Even after college, he continued to stay active in many sports until 2005 when a skiing accident changed his life. At 35 years of age, John became paralized from the waist down.
Although the tragedy robbed him of his former mobility, it did not squelch his competitive spirit and as John recovered, he began to look for sports adapted to his limitations. Every sport he played before the accident, he played after–this time in a wheelchair! In fact, he says he’s tried 50 sports since his injury! However, his search for adaptive sports became time-consuming and complicated and if he’d not been so determined, might have easily given up.
In 2009, John founded Sports Abilitites. a free resource for people looking for adaptive sports. His goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to find a sport and participate.
Today, Sports Abilities lists over 600 organizations and 4,000 events each month. The site, which is basically a fulltime hobby for John, allows everyone who wants to play, no matter what their limitations, to participate in a sport.
“People looking for adaptive sports face so many barriers: expensive sports equipment, a huge learning curve–it’s just too easy for people to give up, especially if they have trouble finding adaptive sports leagues and organizations,” says John. His determination and dedication reminds us all that Whatever you think you can’t do, you can’t do, but if you think you CAN do it, then nothing can stop you.
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