By Angeline Carbajal and Eric Bell
Photos by UADRC
Adaptive Sports Community The Disability Resource Center at the University of Arizona has created a dynamic and vibrant adaptive sports community that provides high-quality and meaningful opportunities for competitive wheelchair and adaptive sports to disabled students and community members. UA offers excellent weather that allows for training year round, an adaptive fitness center, as well as disability resources for students that rival any in the country. The program houses six globally competitive teams that include men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, hand-cycling, track and road racing. UA Adaptive Athletics has sent a total of 33 athletes to the Paralympic Games, including 11 in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and has won a number of national titles, making the program the most successful and comprehensive collegiate-based program in the country.
Generous donations and fundraising allow the DRC to award competitive scholarships to promising student athletes from around the globe. The program provides funding for travel, equipment and apparel, in addition to the facilities and athletic resources available. Jim Click’s Run ‘N’ Roll 8K Race and 3K Fun Run is the largest fundraising event for the program. The event has occurred the first Sunday of October since 1981.
Juniors Active in Wheelchair Sports is a DRC sponsored athletic program for children in the community ages 5 to 17 with disabilities. The purpose of the program is to get children active and introduce them to adaptive sports. Children are given the opportunity to improve their wheelchair handling skills and experience individual and team recreational sports.
Student Accommodations Aside from athletics, the Disability Resource Center collaborates with over 2,000 students each year with varying disabilities to create an environment on campus that is inclusive for all, which may result in the implementation of accommodations. Accommodations vary by student and may include extended time on exams in the state of the art DRC testing center, providing an American Sign Language interpreter for a class or event, or ensuring dorm rooms are accessible to the student. The DRC coordinates with instructors and departments at the design phase of their courses to ensure access is established at the start, both for online and in-person courses.
The DRC is not only a resource for students. Faculty, staff and guests to the UA may request accommodations in their campus environments. There is a team dedicated to providing accommodations for faculty and staff in their work environments, as well as a team dedicated to physical access and UA sponsored events. The Tucson Festival of Books is one of the DRC’s largest events to oversee access. The event attracts over 100,000 people to the UA each year.
The Disability Resource Center is a tax-deductible 501c3 organization through the UA Foundation. Donations to the program can be submitted online on the UA Foundation website.
Angeline Carbajal is the Program Coordinator of Communications at the UA Disability Resource Center. She started as a student worker for the DRC her freshman year and graduated from the UA in May 2015 with her bachelor’s in journalism. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in marketing starting August 2017.
Eric Bell is the Program Coordinator of Campus Events and Engagement for the UA Disability Resource Center. He will graduate in May 2017 with a master’s in Public Administration from the UA and has been a part of the UA Wheelchair Rugby team for three years.