Utah Paralympic Acadmey Provides New Opportunities

May 12, 2009, 12:45 p.m. (ET)

The National Ability Center (NAC) and Salt Lake County (SLCO) Parks & Recreation, announced today that they will be hosting the 2009 Utah Paralympic Academy in conjunction with U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 6th from noon to 4pm at the Holladay Lions Fitness and Recreation Center (1661 East Murray-Holladay Rd.).

"Coming on the heels of a great showing for the United States at the Paralympics in Beijing, we're excited to give people with disabilities the chance to try different Paralympic sports all in one place for free," said Dale Schoon, CEO of the NAC.

Jeff Burley, SLCO Parks & Recreation Adaptive Program Manager, said,"This year's event is going to be a lot of fun for people who have never had the chance to try these kinds of activities."

The Utah Paralympic Academy will introduce students with physical disabilities, ages 12-18, to Paralympic sports. In addition to hands-on participation in cycling, quad rugby, swimming, wheelchair basketball, and archery, the students will interact with Paralympic athletes and coaches. There will also be educational sessions on Paralympic sports for parents, teachers, coaches, program leaders and rehabilitation specialists.

"The Paralympic Academy program encourages physical fitness and overall well-being in children with physical disabilities, and we are thrilled to be working with the NAC and SLCO Parks & Recreation on this initiative," said Charlie Huebner, Chief of U.S. Paralympics. "Together, we will inspire and encourage more people with physical disabilities to be physically active."

Paralympic Academies are being held in 50 communities throughout the country. For registration information on the Utah event, visit http://www.discovernac.org or call 435.649.3991. Participation in the Academy is free.

About National Ability Center:
The National Ability Center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides recreational and therapeutic activities for people of all ages and abilities. The Ability Center offers more than twenty adaptive programs throughout the year including horseback riding, alpine and Nordic skiing, cycling, and sled hockey. Learn more about the NAC at DiscoverNAC.org.

About Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation:
Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation is pleased to partner with the National Ability Center. Salt Lake County's Adaptive Recreation is about providing recreational opportunities for individuals with special needs through programs like wheelchair basketball, quad rugby, adaptive golf and dancing. More information about Salt Lake County's Adaptive Recreation can be found at http://www.recreation.slco.org/adaptive/.

About U.S. Paralympics:
U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and to promoting excellence in the lives of persons with physical disabilities. Visit the U.S. Paralympics Web site at www.usparalympics.org.