Rio Paralympics Inspires UCF’s 1st Intramural Leagues for Adaptive Sports

Rio Paralympics Inspires UCF’s 1st Intramural Leagues for Adaptive Sports

A fire was ignited in Andrea Snead as she watched the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

The Rio Olympic Games’ competitions in swimming, beach volleyball, cycling, diving and more were televised around the clock Aug. 5-21, but the Rio Paralympic Games Sept. 7-18 received little coverage.

“A lot of people didn’t know it [the Paralympic Games] was going on,” said Snead, UCF Recreation and Wellness Center’s sports club coordinator. “I was following the Games, and it gave me more fire to want to bring it to life at UCF. There are people with disabilities that are doing extraordinary things, and we have some of those people on campus.”

Beginning Nov. 9, students with disabilities will have the opportunity to play in an adaptive recreation intramural league at UCF for the first time. The leagues will include Paralympic sports goalball and sitting volleyball.

Goalball is similar to soccer and is for the visually impaired. The object is to get the ball, which makes a sound from a bell inside, into the opponent’s net. Sitting volleyball is played by those with amputations, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and other conditions that inhibit use of their legs. Students have until Nov. 1 to sign up for the three-week leagues that conclude Nov. 30.

Both the goalball and sitting volleyball leagues will be made up of at least eight teams, Snead said. Goalball can have a mix of single- and two-player teams, and sitting volleyball needs six-player teams.

Expanding UCF’s adaptive-recreation offerings helps further one of the university’s five goals – to become more inclusive and diverse – that were set by President John C. Hitt when he took the helm in 1992. It also helps UCF stand out among higher education institutions.

“There is a small group of universities that really are in tune with adaptive and inclusive recreation, and a lot of other universities now are following some of the programs we’re doing,” Snead said. “Portland State University and the University of California, Los Angeles, are two leading universities we look to.”

Students on Oct. 19 can participate in goalball and sitting volleyball clinics at the Recreation and Wellness Center’s Inclusive Recreation Expo from 3 to 8 p.m. Students can learn more about joining the leagues and other inclusive recreation programs at UCF. Plus, the expo offers opportunities for students of all abilities to play sports alongside each other. See here for more information.