TUCSON, Ariz. – There are many benefits of being an athlete, John Register, U.S. Army Veteran and Paralympian, said in his presentation at the Amputee Coalition National Conference, here.
The goal of the U.S. Olympic Committee is to increase the number of disabled athletes who have access to those benefits.
“There are too many people out there, the year of the Paralympic Games, who are just finding out, and miss the qualifying deadline,” Register said. “We have to get a cap on that. We need more awareness.”
Awareness begins with lowering the barriers of inclusion and making a commitment to long-term Paralympic success, according to Register. Barriers include emotional issues, lack of accessible facilities and equipment, and lack of knowledge about Paralympic opportunities.
There are solutions, however, he said. More coaches to train athletes, more inclusive environments and embracing independence could increase the number of disabled athletes who compete in state events.
“The Paralympic Games do not stand for paraplegic. They stand for the parallel games to the Olympic Games,” he said. “We want that word to be in its truest sense for athletes all across our country.”
Gateway to Gold, a talent scouting initiative that introduces people with Paralympic-eligible impairments to Paralympic sports, has announced upcoming opportunities in Boston, Mass.; Houston, Texas; Minneapolis, Minn.; and San Francisco, Calif. – by Shawn M. Carter
Register J. Gateway to Gold – running towards Rio. Presented at: Amputee Coalition National Conference; July 23-25, 2015; Tucson, Ariz.
Disclosure: Register reports no relevant financial disclosures.