Paralympic Sport New York City Providing Free Soccer and Track & Field Program

Oct. 03, 2008, 2:50 p.m. (ET)
NEW YORK--The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and U.S. Paralympics are presenting an eight-week program at Thomas Jefferson Park in Manhattan to introduce Paralympic soccer and track & field to individuals with Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke survivors and others with physical disabilities, ages 13 to 35. Activities will take place every Sunday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. now through November 16 and are free of charge to participants. Participants should be able to walk independently, with crutches or with a walker.

"We are proud to partner with U.S. Paralympics to provide free track & field and soccer training to New Yorkers affected by Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury, and strokes" said Commissioner Benepe. "In addition to staying active for their health, these athletes can show off their talents and learn new skills at Thomas Jefferson Park in hopes of one day ‘going for the gold' in Paralympic competition. This program is yet another example of Parks' commitment to helping ALL New Yorkers discover how the City's 29,000 acres of parkland can enrich their lives."

"U.S. Paralympics is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals with physical and visual disabilities to be physically active in their own communities. Participation in physical activity enhances not only self-esteem and peer relationships, but also results in greater achievement better overall health and higher quality of life," said Mike Mushett, U.S. Paralympics Director of Community Programs.

The Parks Department's goal is to provide access and opportunity, going above and beyond mere compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide access as well as increased opportunities for recreation and participation. Visit us at for more information on accessibility, including playgrounds and centers with programming and field trips, free Aquatic Therapy Instruction, Wheelchair Basketball and Football, Quad Rugby, and more.

These programs, in addition to "Paralympic Sport Days" throughout October, give disabled New Yorkers even more opportunities to get active this fall.

There are 21 million physically disabled Americans, including more than 31,000 military personnel who have been injured during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. New York City's community-based Paralympic sports club is designed to involve youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities in sports and physical activity, regardless of skill level. U.S. Paralympics is working with community organizations across the United States to create 250 Paralympic sport clubs by 2012.