The Extremity Games, an extreme adaptive sports competition for athletes
with amputations or spinal cord injuries, were founded by College Park
Industries in 2006 as a way to raise awareness about the abilities of people
with limb loss or limb difference to compete in athletic activities.
Operating under the slogan, “There is no replacement for the
competitive spirit,” Extremity Games hosts athletes traveling from across
the globe, as well as many returning injured veterans, in a broad range of
athletic competitions and instructional clinics.
“Extremity Games provides the opportunity for athletes to compete
peer-to-peer, limb loss-to-limb loss, while competing for cash and other
prizes,” Beth Geno, execuative director of the Athletes with
Disablities Network, said. “Extremity Games’ competitions and
instructional clinics help people recognize their own personal endurance,
strength and achievement, while offering an opportunity for individuals to
experience camaraderie with others facing the same challenges.”
The first Games
The first Extremity Games were held in Orlando, Fla. and surpassed all
expectations with more than 500 participating athletes, sponsors, spectators
and volunteers. In 2007, Extremity Events Network, Inc. (EEN) was established
to garner additional support and ensure that the Games would continue as an
annual event. In 2009, EEN merged with the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of
Fame to create the Athletes with Disabilities Network (ADN), which now
organizes the Games. ADN seeks to create awareness for people with disabilities
and offer opportunities for them to participate in athletic and recreational
activities to ensure that they have a better quality of life.
“What I have seen at Extremity Games is absolutely amazing,”
Tracii Haynes, Extremity Games volunteer coordinator and board member,
said. “The athletes are phenomenal. It’s unbelievable what you
The main event
Now in its seventh year, Extremity Games occurs in two events. The first
event, motocross, was held on May 26 in Millington, Mich. The motocross event
has two divisions: stand-up, for amputees and people with limb loss, and
sit-down, including paraplegics, quadriplegics, and those with limb difference.
The riders raced a Two-Moto format and competed for cash prizes.
The main event will be held from June 22 and 23 in San Antonio. The
first day features instructional clinics and exhibitions including
skateboarding, wakeboarding and sit-boarding, rock climbing kayaking, cycling,
powerlifting and mixed martial arts. On day 2, athletes will compete in either
the elite or novice category in skateboarding, speed rock climbing,
wakeboarding. kayaking and cross-country mountain biking.
The athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze medals, in addition to
cash awards and other prizes. The event concludes at the end of day with an
awards ceremony and barbeque, and all athletes, volunteers and spectators are
invited to join.
“Extremity Games is geared toward people who want to be active, who
have that drive and that desire to get out and do stuff,” said Garry
Moore, founder of Amped Riders and an Extremity Games skateboarding
competitor. “Interacting with other people who are already doing that gets
them to the next level a lot quicker.”
Image: Extremity Games
Chris Ridgway, a professional motocross racer, has also
experienced the Games first-hand. Ridgway had his left leg amputated in 2002
after continued complications from a crash he experienced in 1995. He has
competed in the motocross competition for the past 5 years, winning four
consecutive gold medals and most recently capturing the silver medal in 2011.
“Extremity Games is a great thing to come watch, because you see
people who never give up,” Ridgway said. “Everybody out here just has
such a great attitude. They are not the woe-is-me type, but the ‘this is
the hand I was dealt, so let’s make the best of it’ type.
“I’m kind of sick of hearing the word inspirational, but there
is just not another word that really describes it,” he added. — by