Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
NY Knicks Win Wheelchair Basketball National Championship Print E-mail
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Westchester Independent Living Center

New York ROLLIN' KNICKS ---- National Wheelchair Basketball Association Champions

 

White Plains NY – The NY Rollin' Knicks beat four time champions, the Dallas Mavericks, 76-53 to take the National Wheelchair Basketball Association championship in Louisville, Kentucky.  To watch the game go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiDaCVEBkJM&list=TLRDIdbbMnMj5bQj_P9aVUelk27nuVfOve 

 

Co-sponsored by the New York KNICKS/Madison Square Garden, Westchester Independent Living Center (WILC) and the Wheelchair Sports Federation the team went undefeated this year. Assistant coach, player, and WILC Executive Director Joe Bravo pointed out how well the team performed all season and that it all came together for them to beat the number one team. 

 

For Bravo wheelchair basketball has been a life changing experience.  He started playing at 19, and it was the first time he met another person with paralysis. “It was my first exposure to a peer. Johnny Johnson was 26, a Vietnam vet, and a paraplegic, a man who was disabled and able” Bravo continued “I suddenly had exposure to men who worked, had girlfriends, went out and did things. It changed my world.” 

 

Current team members range in age from 16-59. It’s a rough and tumble game with players having to propel their chair and shoot baskets. Every team member has a mobility disability running the gamut from amputation to paraplegia. A classification system is used to determine the mix of players on the court at any given time. The game is played on a regulation court with very few modifications in the rules.

 

Bravo played for a team throughout college and continued while building his career as a disabilities advocate at WILC and its Putnam County satellite Putnam Independent Living Services (PILS). He pointed out that there are more opportunities for athletes now with some colleges and universities offering Adapted Athletics Programs. In fact, one of the NY Rollin’ Knicks junior players, Fabrizio Shao, recently received a partial basketball scholarship to the University of Arizona. 

 

Head Coach Gerry Fleming and Bravo encourage the juniors (as the new players are called), engage them in the competitive sport, and help them to develop teamwork and cooperation, skills which can be transferred to other areas of life including employment, independent living and self-sufficiency. The established members of the team become, in effect, mentors of the young men helping them develop their skills and athleticism.

 

Coach Fleming volunteers his time and expertise. His players live and practice in the New York metropolitan area but travel throughout the country for tournaments, with an average age of 35 for the starting players. This year Patrick Anderson and David Eng, former Canadian national team players, joined the team. Anderson scored an impressive 32 points in the final game. 

 

An ongoing challenge for the team is sponsorship. Basketball wheelchairs are expensive as is the travel required. WILC recently received a Quality of Life Grant from the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation to help purchase two sports wheelchairs. With proper support and comfort, and a lighter, stronger design the chairs allow a player to move down court quickly and absorb some of the rough contact inherent in the sport. New York Rollin’ Knicks players are strong accomplished individuals and now, national champs. For more information call 914.682.3926 extension 2103

 

Photo attached - Players:

From Left to Right, bottom row first -

First Row:  David Snowden, Jr., Isaiah Moore, Fabrizio Shao, Jason Soricelli, Assistant Coach Joe Bravo, Marcos Taveras

 

Back Row:  Chad Sussman, David Eng, Mr. Anderson, Edwin Lopez, Head Coach Gerry Fleming (holding the trophy), Christopher St. Remy, Kyle Jankowski, Faizool Ali, Patrick Anderson, Kevin Grant

 

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About Westchester Independent Living Center

WILC is a nonprofit, community-based; consumer directed organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities and has a 30 year history of providing information, services, advocacy, technical assistance, and trainings in the Lower Hudson Valley Region to diverse and/or underserved populations.  WILC's mission is two-pronged:  to assist individuals with disabilities become as independent as they can be and 2) to work within the community to provide education, disability awareness, and advocacy for the removal of barriers. The programs and services offered are designed by, directed by, and, in most cases, delivered by individuals with a wide range of disabilities. Although the bulk of the services are based in Westchester and Putnam, we also serve Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Rockland and Ulster Counties.  Core services include benefits advisement, information and referral, community outreach.

 

Visit www.wilc.org or call 914.682.3926 for more information.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 02:51
 
Closing Ceremony for Sochi Paralympics Print E-mail
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An End for Sochi and the Paralympic Games in 2014

Written by Matthew Gephart and Picture by Katie Harris

SOCHI, Russia – In a spectacle of light and sound, the Paralympics of Sochi 2014 has come to a close in the same manner it has endured during the weeks of competition, sensational.  

The anticipation began as volunteers took the stage to form a perimeter of smiles and dance, inviting all the athletes on the floor to take their seats for the exhibition that was about to be fore taken.  As each country came to take its place, spectators invited them as they had all week during competition.  

An elaborate dance number was arranged using wheelchairs and light to start, synchronizing moves around center stage.  Those in wheelchairs were then joined by dangling acrobats where spinning and flipping became a demonstration of light, forming a harmonized flow of display between numerous aerialists.

Vladimir Putin and Sir Phillip Craven, President of the Russian Federation and President of the International Paralympic Committee, had taken their seats as the Russian flag was raised in memorandum of the games that took place here in Sochi.  The Russian State Children’s Chorus Assembly presented the national anthem while Russian spectators sang along from their seats.

As we learned the theme for the evening of ‘I’mPossible,’ the elaborate dance numbers and song had captivated all as they watched.  

Including the theme of Tetris and blocks forming a mini Tetris match on stage which ended with a ‘Game Over’ projection, the blocks were then raised to reveal the word Impossible above center stage.  

After an enduring stunt of rope climbing by Aleksey Chuvashev, straight from wheelchair to Tetris block, a feat which ended with an extended reach and transition to form the apostrophe making Impossible, I’mPossible.  In bright Technicolor, I’mPossible was the apparent premise of the night, bridging the gap between being impaired and enduring through adaptive sports, just as the athletes have proven time and time again during the events in Sochi.  The strength and courage that it takes for each and every athlete to be where they are today was shown gracefully and vigorously through this one act of valor that was undertaken by Chuvashev climbing seventy five feet into the air.

Next, volunteers and special athletes were acknowledged during a dance movement showing the Paralympics symbol and a heart, adhering to the celebration of those whose exceptional endeavors and commitments captured the hearts and minds of many.

The presentation of the Korean flag was a special time where the torch was passed onto the next winter games to take place in PyeongChang in 2018.  With a short segment from the South Korean ensemble showing the perseverance of an artist who has prosthetic  arms, painting a large mural on center stage while dancers in traditional fashion were strewn about around him.  The pure determination was enough to keep all eyes fixated on the presentation at hand, giving an outlook into what to expect from PyeongChang in another four years.

Following speeches from Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitriy Kozak, and President of the IPC, Sir Phillip Craven, the Paralympic flame was extinguished in center stage as Craven declared the games official closed for Sochi in 2014. As the ‘Paralympic Chorus’ had rung out once again from the Russian State Children’s Chorus Assembly and other international singers, then began the joyful finale of the evenings cast, in a frivolous celebration of the games that had taken place, and the accomplishments of the athletes.


About the Author: Matthew Gephart is a member of the Wheelchair Sports Federation media team reporting on events at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  The all-volunteer media team consists of professional writers and photographers who are donating their time and expertise to showcase the athleticism of disabled U.S. athletes and highlight their world class achievements in adaptive sports.  Some members of the media team are former Paralympians and wheelchair users/amputees. The Wheelchair Sports Federation is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for the disabled and wheelchair-bound adults and youth to play sports recreationally and competitively.  For more information, visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 18:36
 
Sochi Paralympics for Day 8 Print E-mail
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Team USA Earns Medal, 5 Top-10 Finishes On Last Day Of Games

Written By Brian Rank and Picture by Katie Harris

SOCHI, Russia – On the last day of competition at the WInter Paralympics, team USA picked up a bronze finished with eight top-10 finishes in cross-country and alpine skiing. The Games concluded on Sunday with a stunning closing ceremony that featured member of the back-to-back champion sled hockey team Steve Cash as flag-bearer for team USA.


The USA earned 18 medals total at the end of the games comprised of 2 gold, 7 silver and 9 bronze.


Below are recaps from the day’s events.    


Alpine Skiing

Team USA Finished strong in downhill with three top-ten finishes. Alana Nichols placed fourth in women’s giant slalom sitting class, followed by Laurie Stephens in sixth. In standing class, Allison Jones placed fourth followed by Melanie Schwartz in 14th. Stephanie Jallen was 5th in her first run, but did not finish the second.


In visually impaired class, Staci Mannella finished sixth.


Cross-Country

It was a good closing for the US nordic team with five top-10 finishes and a bronze.


Oksana Masters completed her stellar debut at the winter Paralympics with a bronze in the 5 km sitting class. Tatyana McFadden got 7th followed by Monica Bascio in 16th and Beth Requist in 19th.


Andrew Soule earned ninth in the men’s 10 km sitting class followed by Daniel Cnossen in 10th. Aaron Pike, Sean Halsted, Jeremy Wagner and Travis Dodson earned 14th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd respectively.


In the 10 km visually impaired, Jacob Adicoff earned 7th and Kevin Burton came in 15th. In the standing class, Omar Bermejo earned 29th and John Oman came in 32nd.


About the Author: Brian Rank is a member of the Wheelchair Sports Federation media team reporting on events at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  The all-volunteer media team consists of professional writers and photographers who are donating their time and expertise to showcase the athleticism of disabled U.S. athletes and highlight their world class achievements in adaptive sports.  Some members of the media team are former Paralympians and wheelchair users/amputees. The Wheelchair Sports Federation is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for th
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 18:35
 
Sochi Paralympics for Day 7 Print E-mail
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US Sled Hockey Makes History, Skiers Earn Good Placements   

Written By Brian Rank. Ralph Green in photo taken by Michael A. Clubine

 

SOCHI, Russia – USA sled hockey defeated Russia in a dramatic game to become Paralympic champions for the second year in a row. Alpine skiers made strong performances and cross-country skiers were able to enter two teams in the the new Paralympic relay event.


Team USA now has 17 medals comprised of two gold, seven silver and 8 bronze.


Below are recaps from the day’s events.    


Sled Hockey

Team USA become the first to win consecutive paralympic sled hockey championships in a fierce game against Russia. Both teams maintained strong defense, allowing only a few goal attempts until the second frame when Josh Sweeney slapped the puck past Russian goaltender Vladimir Kamantcev at 9:28.


"I saw the defender, he had the puck and I just went after him," Sweeney said. "I did a little fake because that's what you want to do when you're up against a goalie that good. It wasn't anything that my other teammates couldn't have done."


The US was able to keep the Russians at bay for the rest of the game to win 1-0.


Alpine Skiing

On day 8 of competition team USA  came out skiing strong and many times seemed to just miss the podium. Heath Calhoun finished sixth in the giant slalom with just two-hundredths of a second off of the leader’s time.


“Overall its been a great trip," Calhoun said. "I skied well here, it was my plan to be about as good as I've ever been here, and I feel like I at least came really close or accomplished my goals, so I'm happy. I keep talking about it, but it's really tough competition in our field. The guys throw down, and I’m happy to be competing with them, happy to be here."   


Jasmin Bambur finished 17th in the race after a crash on the second run that he was able to overcome to finish the race. Both Chris Devlin-Young and Scott Meyer crashed and were not able to complete the event.


In men’s standing class, Ralph Green finished 16th, his best of the games. Joel Hunt and Tyler Carter finished 24th and 25th respectively.


James Stanton did not finish the event after crashing on his second run, though he came in 13th on his first. Jon Lujan crashed on his first run and had to be transported off by sled, he later wrote in Twitter that he had sustained new damage on his knee.


In visually impaired slalom, Mark Bathum and guide Cade Yamamoto did not finish after a crash on the first run.



Cross-Country

Team USA entered a team in the 4x2.5 km mixed relay and a team in the 4x2.5 km open relay  – two events new for the Paralympics – and made a strong effort. But the US coaches said the mere fact that they were able to field two teams in the race was what made the day a success.


“The most important thing today for us as a nation is that we got to field two full relay teams,” John Farra, director of high performance for the U.S. Paralympics Nordic skiing program, said. “Team relays are such a great way to bring the team together. We all did face paint today and really felt like Team USA, I am really proud of how the guys performed.”


The mixed relay teams must include two to four competitors and at least one woman.The US team was comprised of sit-skier Tatyana McFadden, who skied the first and third legs of the relay and visually impaired skier Jake Adicoff and guide Reid Pletcher who skied the second and fourth legs. The team finished sixth with an overall time of 29:06.7. Russia won the event with a time of 27:35.6.


“I personally love the team aspect, because you try just that much harder for the team,” Pletcher said. “It’s not just about you; it’s about doing anything you can and giving your last bit of energy for the team.”


In the open relay, teams can be from 2 to four competitors but do not require a female participant. The US mixed team was comprised of Kevin Burton, Omar Bermejo, Augusto Perez and Bryan Price. The team finished 9th with a time of 29:58.3. Russia won the race with a time of 24:22.8.


About the Author: Brian Rank is a member of the Wheelchair Sports Federation media team reporting on events at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  The all-volunteer media team consists of professional writers and photographers who are donating their time and expertise to showcase the athleticism of disabled U.S. athletes and highlight their world class achievements in adaptive sports.  Some members of the media team are former Paralympians and wheelchair users/amputees. The Wheelchair Sports Federation is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for the disabled and wheelchair-bound adults and youth to play sports recreationally and competitively.  For more information, visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 18:37
 
US Sled Hockey Wins GOLD in Sochi! Print E-mail
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GOLD OR BUST
US Defends Their Gold Medal Against Russian Sled Hockey Team
Written by Eric Gissendanner
Photos by Ken King

SOCHI — “Gold or Bust” had been the year-long mantra for the United States sled hockey team. Saturday night, the team followed through by beating Russia, 1-0, for the gold medal. The U.S. defended its gold from Vancouver in 2010, while also becoming the first country to win three gold medals.


Aided by Josh Sweeney’s unassisted goal at 9:28 of the second period, the U.S. relied on its defense to stifle a Russian squad that entered the game with the second-most tournament goals at 16. Three days earlier, Russia defeated the U.S., 2-1, in a preliminary round game. That win propelled the host nation to a top-seed in the pool, while the U.S. held steady in second.


All records, for what those are worth, were tossed out as the final four teams battled in a single-elimination format for the gold. Russia beat Norway, and then the U.S. knocked off Canada. That set the stage for a perennial U.S. power against an unlikely sled hockey Russian foe. Though steeped in Olympic history, Russia’s Paralympic success lacked prior to this year. Perhaps it was that lack of success coupled with home ice that pushed Russia to a completely new level. Whatever the cause, the Russians played and played well.


“They’re a fast and physical team,” U.S. defenseman Taylor Chace said. “They come at you and you’ve got to be ready to respond. Our guys knew that they had to match the physicality.”

The U.S. matched the physicality and then some. The forward line of Declan Farmer, Josh Pauls and Brody Roybal continued to show their speed and agility. At 21-years-old, Pauls is the veteran of the trio, having competed in the Vancouver Games. Pauls is also the player who can win any race for the puck.


Pauls’ talents were hardly the only highlights from the game. Farmer was robbed just two minutes before Sweeney’s goal, when his backhand shot was gloved away by Russian goalie Vladimir Kamantcev. Kamantcev finished the day with three saves on four shots. His counterpart, U.S. goalie Steve Cash, who collected six saves for the win.


“Stevie was just on tonight,” Chace said. “We left him out a few times, but he’s good enough to bounce back for a save.”


Chace and Cash are among two of the three veterans from the 2006 Torino Games. Joining Cash and Chace is forward Taylor Lipsett. Lipsett said he plans to retire from international sled hockey. He also, though, did not completely rule out temporary retirement.


“Ever since 2006, I’ve grown as a player and person,” Lipsett said. “Right now, I’m interested in working more and possibly stating up a family.”


Regardless of where he ends up, Lipsett has the backing of his teammates. The two-time gold medalist is more than deserving of this proper send off.


About the Author: Eric Gissendanner is a member of the Wheelchair Sports Federation media team reporting on events at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  The all-volunteer media team consists of professional writers and photographers who are donating their time and expertise to showcase the athleticism of disabled U.S. athletes and highlight their world class achievements in adaptive sports.  Some members of the media team are former Paralympians and wheelchair users/amputees. The Wheelchair Sports Federation is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for the disabled and wheelchair-bound adults and youth to play sports recreationally and competitively.  For more information, visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.

PHOTO CATIONS:
Photos by Ken King
"Wounded Warrior Project veteran, Joshua Sweeney, scores the only, and winning, goal during the USA vs. Russia gold medal Sled Hockey game during the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia."
 
"Wounded Warrior Project veteran, Joshua Sweeney, takes the puck from Russia in the gold medal game during the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi."
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 March 2014 22:03
 
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