Event showcases wheelchair sports
Adaptive Athletics at UH assisted in the fourth annual Metal and Muscle Expo, a Friday and Saturday event in which wheelchair-bound individuals played various sports at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
However, the expo wasn’t necessarily just an opportunity to expose the community, said construction management senior Diego Barragan, who is a member of Adaptive Athletics. The event was a showcase for an actual league.
“It’s like the NBA but in wheelchairs,” Barragan said.
Barragan plays for a local wheelchair rugby team.
“There are guys that have been playing 20 to 25 years; I’ve been playing about five years. The age range varies.” Barragan said.
“We’re really trying to get a (UH) team together to try to compete with these guys, but it’ll take a few years. That’s the main goal of Adaptive Athletics at UH.”
The Adaptive Athletics program at UH was officially began in November, Barragan said, but lost steam because of the holidays and started up again in January.
“This is our first event that we’re doing outside of UH for our organization,” Barragan said.
Barragan says he enjoys playing not only for the health benefits, but also for the positive effect it has on his outlook.
“It changes your mentality on everything — it’s not a selfish mind set,” he said.
“Other people who have been injured … sometimes whenever they’re barely out of the hospital or they’ve recently gotten injured, they think that life is over. So it’s also psychological. We show them that it won’t matter, you can pretty much live a normal life. People here are enjoying themselves.”
Barragan says the plan of Adaptive Athletics at UH is to create a community at the University where people like him can come together and establish their own bond — their own identity.
“We are thinking of doing a basketball tournament with the fraternities,” Barragan said.
“We have to talk to them first to see if they want to and if that happens, we already have a lot of support from the CRWC Center.”
Adaptive Athletics is also about reaching out to the community, Barragan said.
“You bring awareness to those who have never seen or heard of wheelchair sports in general,” he said.
“It’s the UH community that’s going to be in the Houston community, and that’s who we’re ultimately helping.”