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Empowerment through Adaptive Sports with Ed

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

Image: Ed sitting in a sports wheelchair with his son inside of a gym.

Through sports and recreation, TheCIL offers adaptive activities for both youth and adults of all abilities, and recreational classes, including art and social clubs, to foster community inclusion.

Wheelchair rugby, or quad rugby, is one of the adaptive sports that TheCIL hosts. Led by Coach Chris Cook, the team participates in tournaments around the country. Quad rugby is played indoors, on a gymnasium court, by players with some impairment in both arms and legs, measured in "points". Quad rugby is practiced in over twenty-five countries around the world and is a summer Paralympic sport. The Storm is based out of Alameda, California.

Ed litigates in the courtroom by day and dominates on the courts by night. In his 24th year playing quad rugby, he has experienced the beginnings and advancements of the sport.

There are so many opportunities. But if you want any playing time, you have to earn it.

Q: Why is wheelchair rugby important to you?

A: Quad rugby has always been a big part of my life. It forces you to work out and stay in shape year round. You have to lift weight and do cardio because you go up and down constantly on the court. There’s teamwork and genuine camaraderie on the teams.

Q: How has the sport impacted you?

A: It helps build independence and mental outlook. This sport is good for you physically and mentally. You’re always planning for the season, a tournament, and maybe nationals. There are so many opportunities. But if you want any playing time, you have to earn it. I need to work harder the older I get and I plan on playing until I can’t play anymore frankly.

Q: Why do you think adaptive sports are important?

A: We have a new young player on the team and I think it’s been good for him to see people that are going for it. He can see that people at practice exercise, have a job, wife and kids, and life goes on. He’s from a community where there may not be many quads for him to interact with and I think it’s opened his eyes to what’s achievable. Personally, when I was first injured and going through rehab, one of the doctors that I encountered was in a wheelchair that left an important impact on me.

Partner Highlight: When TheCIL first moved to Alameda, the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department was one of the first to reach out about making their programs more inclusive. They’ve supported our quad rugby team with gym space, now offer a beach wheelchair at Alameda shore line, and as part of their commitment, they host us for their staff trainings so that their team is updated on adaptive technology and can best serve the diverse Alameda community.

Learn more about our Adaptive Sports program in the Lifestyles program by clicking here.


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