is an exciting opportunity for individuals with
physical disabilities to participate on an organized racing team.
Founded in 1999 by the Henry H. Kessler Foundation, the program is
geared for wheelchair athletes of all levels of experience -- from the
interested beginner to the elite racer. Over the past two
decades, wheelchair racing has grown from an exhibition event into a
recognized competitive sport, with its own specialized rules and
equipment. Races around the world have established wheelchair
divisions, leading to both prizes and prestige for top-level racers.
This Kessler program is designed to provide instruction and coaching
for wheelchair racers and to help sponsor those who choose to compete
in local and regional races. The program promotes active
lifestyle options for people with disabilities and seeks to increase
community awareness of these opportunities.
Team participation is
open to men and women of high school age or older who have a physical
disability. This includes, but is not limited to; Spina bifida,
Spinal cord injuries, Post-polio, Amputation,
Non-progressive neuromuscular disorders. Participants must be
medically stable and require minimal supervision and assistance with
transfers. A signed release form and clearance from a physician
are required of all participants before joining the team.
Staff. The program is run
by Angela Smith, Research Assistant, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation
Research and Education Corporation. Dr. Steven Kirshblum, Director of
Spinal Cord Injury Services at Kessler, serves as medical advisor to
Practices are held once a week from April - September at Millburn High
School, Millburn, NJ. Days and times may vary. Indoor training,
sponsored by Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, is at its West
Orange Health & Fitness Center.
Team members will be provided with racing jerseys,
t-shirts and hats. Any other clothing items or special equipment is
the racer's responsibility. Six racing chairs are available for team
use. There is no charge to participate on the racing team.
Members are responsible for their personal transportation and any
Trained volunteers are available to
provide assistance at all practices. New volunteers are always
welcome, as is the support of family and friends.