LivAbility Magazine

Edition 15 | Winter 2019

Two young boys playing power wheelchair soccer in Ability360's Sports & Fitness Center. One boy, wearing a brown and white jacket, black jeans and faded red vans, uses his power wheelchair to push the soccer ball towards another boy. The other boy wears a black t-shirt and black basketball shorts.

Six Years of Raising the Bar for Youth Adaptive Sports

Story by Christian Guerithault
Photo by Christian Guerithault

A young girl in a blue manual wheelchair playing wheelchair hockey. The young girl wears a black jacket, and blue pants with red polka dots.
Photo by Christian Guerithault

The Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center has partnered with Max in Motion over the last six years to introduce children with disabilities to various adaptive sports. This year the program will begin in March rather than July.

“We’re getting started earlier this year because we have more and more families asking for more opportunities to get their kids active,” said Gus LaZear, General Manager of Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center.

Since 2013, the Max in Motion Foundation has partnered with Ability360, sponsoring the once-a-month Saturday morning event that provides a unique opportunity for youth to participate in numerous adaptive sports.

“Often this is the first time some of these kids have a chance to enjoy team sports,” LaZear said.

“We love the Max in Motion Clinics for so many reasons,” said Monica Lindmark, mother of Jackson (16) and Holden (12). “Everyone there is so enthusiastic, supportive, and you couldn’t find a more inclusive facility if you tried. Max in Motion has a special place in our hearts.”

A young boy playing wheelchair hockey. The boy is standing, wearing a bright blue Max in Motion shirt, black basketball shorts, and black Nike's playing with a red hockey stick.
Photo by Christian Guerithault

There will be one youth adaptive sports clinic a month from March to October in 2019. Each clinic will feature two different sports, which includes, power soccer, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair baseball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair hockey and wheelchair tennis.

“The coaches are experienced and relatable,” Lindmark said. “Our son, Jackson, has met many mentors and made many friends. Our typical son, Holden, has always been invited to participate as well. Our boys get to play together on an even playing field and they enjoy that interaction.”

The Max in Motion youth clinics are open to children 18 years old and younger with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

Young athletes get to learn skills in each individual sport and they will get to use specialty wheelchairs and equipment used in competition.

“We heard about Max in Motion from one of our therapists about five years ago and decided to come down for a tour,” Lindmark said. “We signed the boys up that day and have been coming ever since. Max in Motion also got us involved in other programs like rock climbing and kayaking.”

This year Ability360 will be reaching out to families and community organizations outside of Phoenix to recruit kids to come to Phoenix and experience adaptive sports.

Portrait of Christian Guerithault

Christian Guerithault
Writer / Photographer

Christian Guerithault is an alumnus of Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. He majored in Sports and Media Studies through ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Christian is a Phoenix native and has two older brothers. He is the biggest sports fanatic you’ll ever meet and hopes to one day work in the front office of a professional sports team.

Read more by Christian Guerithault.