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by Amanda Molinaro from Irvine

Oscar Loreto skateboarding (www.adaptiveactionsports.com)

Adaptive Action Sports was founded in 2005 by Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale. Amy Purdy was an active snowboarder and wakeboarder, until she lost both her legs to bacterial meningitis. She spent three months in the hospital fighting for her life, and doctors gave her less than a two percent chance of survival. Because of meningitis Amy lost circulation in both her legs, and when she came out of the hospital she had prosthetic legs. When she lost her legs, Amy knew she would be active again, but didn’t know how or when. She struggled to be active on her new legs, and a little over two years after her amputation she entered the USASA National Snowboarding Competition and won medals in three events.

Amy Purdy (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/supporting-disabled-athletes)
Amy was on an adaptive snowboard workshop in 2002 when she met Daniel Gale. They immediately formed a connection through their passion for snowboarding, music, and art. Amy’s biggest struggle had been obtaining information on how to start snowboarding again with prosthetic limbs, and she and Daniel both saw the need to help others like Amy. They “wanted to create something, a place, a forum, an organization that would enable individuals to find and participate in their passions without a struggle. Adaptive Action Sports was born.”

An adaptive athlete riding halfpipe (www.adaptiveactionsports.com)
Their dream was to help athletes with permanent physical disabilities compete in “action sports.” Adaptive Action Sports holds camps, clinics, and events to create programs and opportunities for these individuals to compete. Evan Strong, a below-the-knee amputee and an adaptive snowboard athlete, wants adaptive athletes to be able to compete side-by-side with able-bodied athletes. “I don’t want to see separation in sports,” he says. “I want to see myself, all the other disabled athletes, and the able-bodied athletes all together. I want the line to be blurred between abled and disabled…I know in my lifetime I’ll see that. Last summer I won two downhill mountain bike races against completely able-bodied people, so I’m seeing it right now.”

An adaptive athlete snowboarding (www.adaptiveactionsports.com)
Since 2000, the USASA has provided opportunities for adaptive athletes to compete in snowboarding competitions. The events offered to adaptive snowboarders are: Slalom, Giant Slalom, Boardercross, Halfpipe, and Slopestyle. In 2007, the USASA Competition had 17 adaptive athletes compete, the largest number of adaptive athletes in adaptive athlete competition history. Single below-the-knee amputees competed next to double below-the-knee amputees, blind riders, and even standing quadriplegics. Although many competitors sustained injuries, including seven compressed vertebrae, two broken ribs, a nearly broken hip and two bloody noses, their injuries healed quickly and showed how hard these athletes are willing to push themselves.

Heroes of the Season is a short film documenting the story of these athletes, and was made by Oscar Loreto, who was born missing his left foot, his left hand and four fingers of his right hand, and Sarah Noone. The athletes in this film want to inspire and help other people with permanent physical disabilities to compete in aggressive sports. Adaptive Action Sports is a grassroots charity that relies on donations to fund their events and help the athletes. Visit www.adaptiveactionsports.comto learn more about Adaptive Action Sports and to make a donation.

Written by Amanda Molinaro from Irvine
Last changed on: 8/17/2014 11:22:50 AM

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