(L-R) Katie Baker (U.S. Paralympics), Mark Lucas (United States Association of Blind Athletes), Danette Fitzgerald (Visit Fort Wayne/Parkview Health), Daryl Walker (Paralympian), Amanda Dennis (Paralympian), Tom Henry (Mayor of Fort Wayne), Tom Trent (Turnstone), Mike Mushett (Turnstone)
Today the United States Olympic Committee and Turnstone Center for Children & Adults with Disabilities announced an agreement designating the agency as its seventh U.S. Paralympic Training Site. Turnstone’s facilities, staff, and resources will provide an elite athlete training environment for current and aspiring Paralympic athletes, with a specialty in the sport of goalball, as well as developmental opportunities for athletes in other Paralympic sports.
“We are very excited to name Turnstone as the newest U.S. Paralympic Training Site,” said Aron McGuire, USOC senior director of Olympic Training Centers. “The work that Turnstone does is essential in supporting our current and future Paralympians and ensuring that our athletes have the resources in place to compete and succeed at the highest levels of international competition.”
Turnstone’s goalball program already retains a reputation of excellence which adds to the Olympic family’s 18 other training sites across the country. Through Turnstone’s relationship with the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), the agency is currently home to the Goalball Center of Excellence, the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Goalball Resident Program, and the internationally ranked 2018 U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Goalball teams.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with the United States Olympic Committee as one of our country’s elite Paralympic training facilities and to further our relationship with the United States Association of Blind Athletes,” said Mike Mushett, Turnstone CEO. “The USOC’s ongoing commitment to promoting excellence in the lives of people with Paralympic-eligible impairments, including physical disabilities and visual impairments, and USABA’s focus on directly supporting blind and visually impaired athletes fully aligns with Turnstone’s legacy work of creating possibilities for people with disabilities. We foresee countless future successes for our community and athletes with the enhanced collaboration between our organizations.”
The designated training site footprint includes the Goalball Center of Excellence and the Plassman Athletic Center at Turnstone. The Goalball Center for Excellence includes a single, enclosed gymnasium with the only Taraflex goalball court in the United States, two standard goals and a high-performance strength and conditioning room adjacent to the gymnasium. The Plassman Athletic Center, architecturally designed by Design Collaborative and constructed by Michael Kinder & Sons, boasts 4 NCAA dimension wood floor basketball courts, with scoreboards and divider curtains, 230 meter, six-lane indoor track, mobile bleacher seating available for approximately 1,000 spectators, and an upper level mezzanine with two conference/hospitality rooms with view of all four courts and track.
“Since establishing the Goalball Center of Excellence in 2015, we are extremely proud of the outstanding relationship United States Association of Blind Athletes has developed with Turnstone,” said Mark Lucas, U.S. Association of Blind Athletes Executive Director. “Turnstone’s leadership and dedicated staff have provided our resident goalball athletes access to world-class services, facilities, and daily support to advance our Women’s and Men’s National Goalball Team’s performance to their highest potential both on the court and in the community of Ft. Wayne. This designation is well-deserved and we couldn’t be prouder for Turnstone’s leadership and staff on creating this world-class U.S. Paralympic Training Site and Goalball Center of Excellence.”
Current and hopeful Paralympic athletes also have access to Turnstone’s 5,000 sq. foot health and wellness center with accessible equipment for cardio and strength training for core, upper and lower extremities, two therapy consult rooms, three group fitness rooms, and 2,400 sq. ft. warm water therapeutic pool.
Additionally, goalball resident athletes also live in dedicated housing located adjacent to the Plassman Center that was made possible by generous financial support from Lions Club International Foundation, Lions District 25B, and Lions of Indiana.
Now in its 75th year of service, Turnstone’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to achieve their highest potential by providing one of the most comprehensive offerings of services and programs to people with disabilities and their families under one roof in the United States. Thanks to generous support and compassionate staff, Turnstone’s legacy of advocacy and innovation continues to contribute to a world that accepts and values people based on their abilities.