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Events June 24, 2013 //  by  // Comments

Athletes compete in wheelchair rugby camp

Rugby 4 - Catherine Lara

The Department of Health and Human Performance and the Adaptive Athletics student organization hosted a wheelchair rugby camp at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Although most participants were from UH, students from six different states also joined. | Catherine Lara/The Daily Cougar

Athletes from across the nation participated in a four-day wheelchair rugby camp from June 13 to 16 at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

The Department of Health and Human Performance collaborated with the Adaptive Athletics student organization to establish the first UH Wheelchair Rugby Camp. It welcomed 22 students from six states to participate, to study strategy, skill development and offensive and defensive tactics and to play rugby.

Health and human performance professor and program director Michael Cottingham specializes in sports, consumer behavior and disability sports.

“Students have the opportunity to be trained in a real-world situation and to receive course credits,” Cottingham said. “We were lucky to have quality instruction from national-level coaches and support from our recreational center and sponsors.”

Also a first-year faculty member, Cottingham focused on marketing the camp to prospective UH students.

Rugby 6 - Catherine Lara

The participants of the Wheelchair Rugby Camp learned strategies and played rugby. Sponsors helped implement an athletics program to UH and provided students with an opportunity to participate in a competitive sport. | Catherine Lara/The Daily Cougar

“Because we really value diversity at this campus, the camp was a great chance to offer athletics and recreation to students with disabilities,” he said. “We need to not just provide services, but also provide the culture for our students.”

Cottingham encourages students and volunteers to interview for positions in the one-of-a-kind program and anticipates a bright future for disability sports at UH.

“We want to become the nation’s leader in this field, but we need to create a transportation system and a budget to develop an effective program,” Cottingham said. “We hope to launch it by next fall.”

Political science junior Sergio Brereda is one of the founders and president of Adaptive Athletics.

“The camp is important to UH because it will hopefully bring additional students into the sport of wheelchair rugby,” Brereda said. “It allowed athletes to have an opportunity to get to know the University and what it has to offer as well as the sport.”

The organization was established in 2011 to foster an athletics program for students with disabilities.

“We’re still in the beginning stages of developing an adaptive athletics program at UH, but we are trying to gain the University’s interest to see if we can get the program running,” Brereda said.

arts@thedailycougar.com

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