SRWC enables the disabled and abled to play side by side

Alex Garcia decided to sideline basketball when he couldn’t get through a pick-up game without feeling pain in his knee. But now, a new program through the Student Recreation and Wellness Center may get him back on the court.

The SRWC is putting a different spin on sports with its new Inclusive Recreation program, offering inner tube water polo, sit volleyball, goal ball and wheelchair basketball shootouts.

“With Inclusive Rec., I think I will be able to renew my passion for the game and help others in a similar situation,” Garcia, a senior biology major, said.

According to Sharon Meyer, Inclusive Recreation assistant for the SRWC, the program allows both people with and without disabilities to participate in the same activities.

“None [of the sports] are ‘only’ for disabled students,” Christina Esparza, Associated Students Inc. communications coordinator, said via email. “That’s why we call it ‘inclusive’ recreation.”

Esparza said that the SRWC has had inclusive recreational equipment since it opened in 2010. She said that equipment has always been available and it is not separated from the others. All members, no matter what their abilities, are able to work out side by side.

Though the equipment has been available for two years, the Inclusive Recreation program was just started this semester.

“These types of inclusive recreation sports … are growing sports in the country and are quite popular,” Esparza said.

Meyer has been in charge of adaptive recreation for little more than a year. She said that through her own research on the topic, she has been able to order equipment for disabled students to use at the SRWC. She has also trained other employees on adaptive recreation basics so that they can help her facilitate activities with members of the gym.

Along with gym employees, Meyer also works alongside the director of Disabled Student Services to coordinate activities and weekly inclusive recreation programs.

“I’ve done my own footwork, to get the word out about inclusive recreation,” Meyer said “I’m lucky that all the other programs [at the SRWC] work together to get the word out.”

Meyer said she encourages all gym members to join in on the inclusive recreation sports or activities because it would help bridge the gap between disabled members and other individuals who share the same passion for a sport and staying in shape.

To get more information about SRWC’s Inclusive Recreation program, visit its Facebook page.

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