EUGENE, Ore. — The city purchased five new wheelchairs for its adaptive recreation program this year and they’re getting a lot of use.
Players participate in an adaptive competitive sport called quad rugby. Eugene has offered the program for 43 years, mostly to those with mental disabilities. In January 2012 it became a Paralympic Sports Club.
The team meets twice a month to practice at Willamalane Parks and Recreation Center. Their chairs feature slanted wheels for quick maneuvering and a back wheel to keep the chair from tipping.
The city applied for a $10,000 grant from the Christopher Reeve Foundation to purchase five new chairs, three for kids and two for adults, but only received a $5,000 grant.
Patti Prather, the Adaptive Recreation Programmer, soon found a Hood River company that was going out of business. The business offered to sell her five of the wheelchairs for the amount of money she had.
Now, youth are able to learn from more experienced players. “It’s important for young people with disabilities to see adults with disabilities with active lifestyles,” says Loren Cushing, one of the athletes.
Thanks to Prather’s wheeling and dealing, the Adaptive Recreation Program found funding for new equipment, without costing tax payers a dime.