Orlando was filled with excitement as the Amputee Coalition’s National Conference, themed “Elevate Together Towards Tomorrow,” kicked off with a multitude of empowering events. Among them, the Adaptive Tennis Clinic, organized by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), shone as a beacon of inclusivity and camaraderie.
“I’m grateful to be part of an organization that values inclusivity and empowers individuals through adaptive tennis. Witnessing the transformative power of sports in breaking down barriers and fostering camaraderie has been truly inspiring,” said Banks.
The hot and humid morning did little to dampen their spirits as they prepared to embrace inclusivity through the adaptive tennis engagement.
From novices to seasoned players, the clinic welcomed individuals of all tennis abilities, including those with limb loss and limb difference. The USTA’s unwavering commitment to breaking down barriers was evident as they provided expert coaching and all necessary equipment, ensuring everyone could participate in this thrilling sport.
For the 4.1 million members of the limb loss and limb difference community, the Amputee Coalition’s national conference offered a unique experience, allowing them to interact with cutting-edge prosthesis and healthcare technologies, making informed decisions about their care and support.
However, it was the Adaptive Tennis Clinic that truly showcased the USTA’s dedication to fostering inclusivity in sports.
Adaptive Standing Tennis, tailored to individuals with physical disabilities who play tennis standing, was introduced alongside wheelchair tennis, offering a level playing field for everyone to partake in the game they love.
“Tennis can be played by anybody regardless of abilities with minimal changes to the game. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live life through sport and recreation,” said Banks.
Stingley and his team showcased their knowledge of the USTA’s Adaptive Engagement Guide which provides coaches with valuable insights into coaching and teaching diverse populations. The Community Outreach team modified their approach based on individual needs, ensuring every participant they interacted with received personalized attention and support.
Beyond the conference, the USTA’s efforts to promote adaptive tennis extended across Florida during National Disability Pride Month, collaborating with the SportsAbility Alliance to organize an event in Tallahassee that drew a record number of participants ranging from children to adults. This display of camaraderie and shared joy emphasized the power of adaptive tennis in fostering an inclusive and supportive community.
“The game can be played by anybody regardless of abilities with minimal changes to the game. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live life through sport and recreation,” said Speed.
The Adaptive Tennis Clinic at the Amputee Coalition National Conference stood as a testament to the USTA’s commitment to engaging the amputee community through sports, where tennis became more than just a sport; it became a means to connect, empower, and uplift individuals, regardless of their physical abilities.
As the clinic concluded, the echoes of laughter and conversations lingered, reminding all present of the incredible impact adaptive tennis has made on their lives.
Cass Isidro, the president, and CEO of the Amputee Coalition, eloquently captured the essence of the clinic and conference, emphasizing the strength and resilience of the community as they united at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.
“The conference is all about harnessing the strength, knowledge, and experience of our community under one roof to connect people living with limb loss and limb difference with leading minds, breakthrough technologies, health and wellness opportunities, and peers,” said Isidro.
Clinics at #ACNC23 are a huge success, providing unique experiences that foster physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Join us tomorrow for the last day with First Swim, Adaptive Martial Arts, Adaptive Tennis, and Yoga at 7:00 am. See you there!#ACNC23 pic.twitter.com/Zf0CPvInJg
— Amputee Coalition (@AmputeesUSA) August 4, 2023
In a world where diversity and inclusion have become paramount, the Adaptive Tennis Clinic at the Amputee Coalition National Conference serves as an inspiring example of how sports can bring people together, breaking down barriers and paving the way for a future where everyone can thrive.
The Amputee Coalition’s National Conference once again elevated the power of adaptive tennis, showing that with unity and empathy, the sport can empower individuals to embrace their full potential on and off the court.