Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
Wheelchair Basketball Star Heads For Maccabiah Games, Harvard Law Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

 07/16/2013 - 08:28


Emily Seelenfreund held a demonstration at Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ on July 2. Ron Kaplan 

Emily Seelenfreund  was diagnosed at birth with a disease that made her vulnerable to broken bones, and was enrolled in physical therapy at 6 months. By the time she was 5, the Hoboken native was outfitted with a wheelchair that helped her get around and was an active competitor in track and field events for the disabled. By the time she was 11, she began playing wheelchair basketball. 

Within two years she found she was really good at the sport. It brought her championships, an athletic scholarship, and the chance to travel “all over the U.S.,” to Canada and Australia.

And next week, to Israel.

Seelenfreund, a 22-year-old guard who has “a pretty mild type” of osteogenesis imperfecta (aka Brittle Bone Disease, a congenital collagen deficiency that affects an estimated 20,000-50,000 people in this country), will be a member of the U.S. co-ed wheelchair basketball team in the Maccabiah Games. “I’m a good defender,” she says. “I’m very competitive.”

Seelenfreund will leave Israel two days before the end of the games to return to her job as a third-grade teacher, under the auspices of Teach for America, on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico.

Like many people in wheelchairs, she has strong arms. She does some weightlifting, but most of her strength comes from pushing her chair “every day.”

Like other wheelchair athletes, she will travel to Israel with a pair of chairs — one, which she uses daily on the street, and one, specially outfitted, for basketball.

Like other wheelchair basketball players, she’s strapped into her sports chair, to prevent her from falling out of it in case of a collision.

She has already suffered a broken arm from playing basketball. “It was just a broken arm. Anyone could hurt themselves playing.” She recovered, and went back to the court. How many other times has she broken bones? “I haven’t kept count.”

People who learn of her athletic background are often surprised, Seelenfreund says. “Most people haven’t heard of wheelchair basketball.”

The most-common question she hears: “Can you dribble?” Of course she can. She can also shoot, from as far away as the three-point line, and she can pass.

People sometimes ask, “Can you dunk?” Silly question. Of course she can’t.

Seelenfreund responds with a question: “Can you imagine my wheelchair flying 10 feet in the air?”

Seelenfreund is also a certified scuba diver.

A 4.0-GPA political science graduate of the University of Alabama (one of four colleges in the U.S. that offer both men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball programs), Seelenfreund will attend law school at Harvard University after she finishes her teaching assignment in New Mexico.

For the last month she has been back with her parents in New Jersey, training for her upcoming competition at the Jewish Community Center in West Orange. Her family is active in the United Synagogue of Hoboken congregation, where Seelenfreund also served as a summer camp counselor; she became bat mitzvah at Temple Sharey Tefilo Israel in South Orange, whose sanctuary and bimah were wheelchair accessible.

This year she hosted a seder for some friends on Passover at her home in Gallup.

Seelenfreund, who’s been in Israel twice before — once on a family trip, once on Birthright — was recruited to the Maccabiah team by an official whose specializes in disabled athletes. She accepted right away. “I love to travel. I love Israel.”

She was an alternate on the U.S. women’s basketball team in the Paralympics last year, but didn’t get to go to London.

The 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro are on her mind, Seelenfreund says. “I would love it.”

Steve Lipman is a staff writer at The Jewish Week.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 17:14
New York Mets And Major League Baseball Reach Out To Wheelchair Athletes Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   


Specialized Chairs Make Rounding The Bases Much Easier


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With all of the excitement surrounding the upcoming Major League Baseball All Star Game the timing was perfect for athletes from the Wheelchair Sports Federation to put their own skills on display on Sunday.

These stars can hit, field, and round the bases, and having adapted the game to their wheelchairs, nothing can slow them down.

“I’ve been playing wheelchair sports for 21-years. I lost my leg in the United States Navy,” Edy Lopez told CBS 2′s Tracee Carrasco.

Players from the federation took the field in specialized sports wheel chairs on Sunday to play an exhibition game as part of the All Star Fan Fest.

“I have spinabifida, so walking, I can still walk around but my mobility isn’t that great. Walking gets a little tiring,” Bryan Genovese said.


“It’s definitely a lot quicker, compared to my normal everyday chair,” Genovese said, “I don’t have to worry about falling over sideways if I have to make a quick turn.”Genovese and other athletes received the chairs as a donation from the New York Mets and Major League Baseball.


Competing in wheelchair athletics can be very expensive, the donated chairs give the athletes a chance to go out and play ball.

“These athletes, now will have these chairs to train, to compete,” Wheelchair Sports Federation President, John Hamre said.

The players hoped that the donation would raise more awareness for their sport, the federation supports athletes around the country.




For another story at MLB.com, click below 


Last Updated on Friday, 19 July 2013 18:40
13th Annual Jana Hunsaker Memorial Wheelchair Tennis Tournament (NY) Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   


Over 70 wheelchair tennis players participated in the 13th Annual Jana Hunsaker Memorial Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park from Thursday June 6th to Sunday June 9th, 2012.  The big winner was Men's Open Singles Winner Stephen Welch who continues his winning ways in New York City and Women's Open Winner Natalia Mayara. The list of all the winners is as follows:


Men's Open Winner:  Stephen Welch

Men's Open Finalist: Daniel Rodrigues

Men's Open Consolation Winner: Paul Moran

Men's Open Doubles Winners:  Rafael Medeiros and Daniel Rodrigues

Men's Open Doubles Finalists: Stephen Welch and Joel Dembe

Men's A Winner: Matthew DeVlieger

Men's A Finalist: Fernando Dibujes

Men's A Consolation Winner: William Lehr

Men's A Doubles Winners: Matthew DeVlieger and Jerry Newman

Men's A Doubles Finalists: Cristobal Rivera and Jongchul Sah

Men's B Winner:  Stu Contant

Men's B Finalist: Patrick Donaghey

Men's B Consolation Winner: Ralffy Diaz

Men's B Doubles Winners: Jerry Russell and Ralffy Diaz

Men's B Doubles Finalists: Jose Gomez and David Kelly

Men's C Winner: James Swanson

Men's C Finalist: Henry Hasson

Men's C Consolation Winner: Signe Dietrichson

Men's C Doubles Winners: Thomas Dodd and John Pelletier

Men's C Doubles Finalists: Signe Dietrichson and Nathan Melnyk

Men's Quad Open Winner:  Francois Trawalter

Men's Quad Open Finalist: Marc McLean

Men's Quad Open Consolation Winner: Julio Rueda

Men's Quad Open Doubles Winners: Francois Trawalter and Kevin Whalen

Men's Quad Open Doubles Finalists: David Jordan and Marc McLean

Women's Open Winner: Natalia Mayara

Women's Open Finalist: Rejane Candida

Women's Open Consolation Winner: Katherina Stuteville

Women's Open Doubles Winners: Karin Korb and Katherine Stuteville

Women's Open Doubles Finalists: Natalia Mayara and Rejane Candida

George McFadden Spirit Award - Leon Magnes

Al Youakim Sportsmanship Award - David Gant 


With over $10,000 in prize money awarded to the winners, all participants competed at the highest level and enjoyed playing at one of the best Tennis Facilities in the World.  For more information about Wheelchair Tennis, please visit -   http://www.usta.com/Play-Tennis/Wheelchair-Tennis/Wheelchair/?intloc=headernavsub

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2013 23:38
43rd Annual Tri-State Regional Wheelchair and Ambulatory Athletes Games (NY) Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   


Four NYC Department of Education students who were part of the NYC Parks/Paralympic Sport New York team that competed at the 43rd Annual Tri-State Regional Wheelchair and Ambulatory Athletes Games this past May 18-19 at Edison NJ. All four boys have qualified to attend this summer's National Junior Disability Championships (NJDC) in Rochester, Minnesota.  Pictured here are #101 Ivan Alevante from Murray Bergtraum High School, #137 Kenny Richetti from Long Island City High School, # 148 Justin Walker from MS 387M and #106 Germey Brown from MS 180X.

This was the first time a team from New York City has competed in both track & field events at the Tri-State Games. The athletes all represented themselves and the City of New York very well. The next meet for the athletes is the PSAL City Championships on June 2 at Icahn Stadium, Randall's Island. Then perhaps on to the NJDC in July. There they can compete with young athletes from all over the nation.The results  from the Tri-State Games are listed below:

Ivan Alevante, Under 20 age group
Field 35 Classification
Discus Throw 6.03 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Javelin Throw 2 meters, 1st place
Shot Put 3..36 meters, 1st place
Track 35 Classification
100 meter dash 30.50 seconds, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
200 meter dash Disqualified due to lane violation

Germey Brown, Under 16 age group
Field 37 Classification
Discus Throw 13.53 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Javelin Throw 6.7 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Long Jump 1.82 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Shot Put 3.37 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Track 37 Classification
100 meter dash 17.76 seconds, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
200 meter dash Disqualified due to lane violation
400 meter run 2:12.04, 1st place

Justin Walker Under 14 age group
Field 34 Classification
Discus Throw 9.91 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Javelin Throw 5.94 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Shot Put 2.21 meters, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
Track 34 Classification
100 meter dash 37.04 seconds, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals
200 meter dash 1:20 minutes, 1st place-Qualified for Junior Nationals

Kenny Richetti Adult Age Group(Error to be reviewed)
Field 35 Classification
Discus Throw 10.86 meters, 1st place
Javelin Throw 6.66 meters, 1st place
Shot Put 3.23 meters, 1st place
Track 35 Classification
100 meter dash 38.60 seconds, 1st place
200 meter dash 1:33.96 minutes, 1st place

Thank you and have a good day,

Bill Schneider
Paralympic Sport Club New York, Track Coach

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 13:21
Wheelchair Lacrosse Camp in New York City Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   


The new adaptive sport was introduced to the NYC area called Wheelchair Lacrosse.  The camp took place in Brooklyn at the Betsy Head Memorial Playground on Saturday May 18th and Sunday May 19th.  With the help of Wheelchair Lacrosse USA (WLUSA) coaches and players, the camp was very successful and brought a new interest of Lacrosse to many new people.  The WLUSA coaches were Ryan Baker, William Lundstrom and Rocco Cimarussi who founded the WLUSA.  Players came as far away as Buffalo, NY, Rochester, NY and Atlanta, GA.  25 Local players learned the game of Lacrosse and were given the opportunity to start a local team which would be the 5th team in existence throughout the United States.  Each player was given a stick to keep for participation and equipment was donated to the NYC Parks Department and the Wheelchair Sports Federation.


For more information, please visit wheelchairlacrosse.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 16:31
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