Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program Enhances Life for Individuals with Physical Disabilities

Blue Lizard is honored to donate sunscreen for the Adaptive Sports & Adventures Program (ASAP) of Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, NC. Read more about this organization and all they do to provide recreational and competitive adaptive sports opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities.

The Adaptive Sports & Adventures Program (ASAP) provides instruction and opportunities for individuals with a variety of disabilities to participate in sports, recreational activities and outdoor adventures. It is designed to challenge youth and adults with physical disabilities to develop skills that will lead to and enhance an active and productive lifestyle -- one without barriers or limits.

“ASAP is a family, an outlet and a place to promote personal growth,” said Jennifer Moore, coordinator of ASAP. “Often, after an accident or illness results in an individual having one or more physical challenges, they experience depression and isolation. ASAP helps diminish social exclusion and get individuals thinking about what they can do, rather than what they can’t do.”

Individuals who participate in ASAP have a variety of disabilities including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, amputations, strokes, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, visual impairments and more.  The goal of ASAP is to get them out and get them moving so they can get back into a healthy lifestyle. “Programs like ASAP are especially important for children with physical disabilities as schools do not offer adaptive team sports,” said Moore.

Sports and adventures programs offered by ASAP vary by season and include: swimming, kayaking, water skiing, cycling, fishing, golf, hunting, rugby, snow skiing, soccer, tennis, peaceful martial arts and amputee running. By extending the rehabilitation process beyond therapy, ASAP helps individuals integrate into ongoing community activities and programs. There are numerous benefits to these programs including decreased social isolation; decreased stress and pain associated with disability; increased awareness in abilities; positive change in attitude; improved quality of life and improved fitness levels.

Competitive team sports are one of the many programs offered. ASAP currently has three members who are part of a competitive waterskiing team who will be competing in the Disabled World Games in September. They also hold the champion title from the 2013 games that were held in Italy. One of the waterskiing team members, Eli Hager, age 17, holds the national trick title. Hager is a bilateral lower extremity amputee and began waterskiing at age 4. Additionally, ASAP also has two of the nation’s top hand-cyclists

In addition to community programs and teams, ASAP also holds several fundraisers throughout the year. Although they are affiliated with Carolinas Healthcare System, ASAP relies on funding opportunities and grants throughout the year to provide adaptive programming and to purchase adaptive equipment. Cycle to the Sea is the largest fundraiser for ASAP, held at the end of April and again in October annually. Other fundraisers include a kids’ triatholon and a tennis tournament. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen has donated sunscreen for all of these fundraising events for the year.

To learn more about ASAP or to find out about volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/rehabilitation-asap.

Written by Cristi Driver.

July 13, 2015 by Blue Lizard Staff
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