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Sports

From the slopes to the boxing ring, adaptive sports are on the rise in Cincinnati

Maddie Lance.jpg
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
Maddie Lance jumped for joy when she was able to hit the ball as part of the Clovernook Center and Children's Hospital adaptive sports program.

Tennis is just one sport sponsored by Clovernook Center and Cincinnati Children's. The ball is bright red and yellow and has a bell inside it so kids without sight can hear it coming.

It may take a little trust on the parent’s part to let their kids participate in the Clovernook Center and Cincinnati Children’s adaptive sports program but the kids, as young as preschoolers, appear to be having a ball.

Teen Maddie Lance jumped for joy when she connected with a tennis ball at the Blue Ash TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion. During the summer, tennis is outside behind Withrow High School. The ball is bright red and yellow and has a bell inside it so kids without sight can hear it coming.

tennis balls.jpg
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU

Coach Zach Sikora gets the kids lined up on this night — February 8 — and pairs them with volunteers. Tennis is the second Tuesday of the month. “There is a line right by my voice," Sikora says. "If you could line up by this line, that would be awesome."

In adaptive sports, traditional sports are modified to be more inclusive of people with disabilities. For example, with tennis, that might mean a player gets two bounces to hit the ball instead of one.

Marcus Arengo and Dez.jpg
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
Eleven-year old Marcus Arengo, jokes he is really 80 when asked his age by WVXU. Dez hands him a ball.

Clovernook sponsors other sports, including boxing. “We pick the sport based on the willingness of volunteers to work with special needs,” says Clovernook Program Coordinator Fred Neurohr. “Boxing is kind of easy. You know, the kids aren’t boxing each other. They’re working out with heavy bags and speed bags.”

Skiing at Perfect North is also popular.

Juandez “Dez” Scruggs organizes adaptive sports for Clovernook. He went blind at age 14 and says he is only one of two people to get the courage award from Cincinnati Public Schools after playing on the Hughes High School basketball team.

He tells WVXU he is making the most of his life by helping others.