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State Championships for Wheelchair Handball Announced

ATLANTA - The AAASP Wheelchair Handball Championships will be held at the J. P. Moseley Recreation Center in Stockbridge, Georgia on Saturday, November 10, 2012 and are hosted by the Henry County School System, Henry County Parks and Recreation Department and the Henry County Hurricanes, the local participating school-based team. The all-day event begins with semi-final games between the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams in the state, starting at 9:30 am. The JV Championship game is scheduled for 2:30 pm with the Varsity Championship scheduled for 4:10pm. The event is free to the public, though donations are appreciated, and food and refreshments are also available.

Georgia is a leader in providing sanctioned, statewide, interscholastic “team” adapted sports programs available through its schools. The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP), in alliance with the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), governs the programs.

Now in their 15th year of operation, AAASP also partners with other state high school associations, including Florida and Kentucky’s to extend the same benefits of athletic competition to students with physical disabilities as are commonly enjoyed by their non-disabled peers.

In application, adapted sports are provided in a similar manner as school sports for non-disabled boys and girls and are an inclusive part of the overall school districts extracurricular athletic program offerings. Often there were not enough children with physical disabilities attending any particular school to form school teams. Therefore, to eliminate this barrier to participation, AAASP policies allow school districts to provide a district team or teams per sport season. This allows children in each school access to the program.

Extracurricular adapted athletic programs create an atmosphere for student athletes with physical disabilities to achieve lasting friendships, improvements in their physical development, and academic performance, as well as teach students fundamental skills, teamwork, strategy and concept of sport participation while having high expectations and clear standards for success, which relate back to the students’ performance in the classroom just as school athletic programs do for non-disabled students.

"This is always an excellent opportunity for the community to come out and learn about these exciting sports and a great place for those without disabilities to see what’s possible for all our kids to excel in healthy habits for life," according to Harlon Mathews, Area Coordinator for the Hurricanes and a top-ranked wheelchair tennis player.

"We really hope parents especially will bring their families out and find ways to get involved and support their schools in making a real difference."

Parents, teachers, coaches or athletes with disabilities can also learn more by visiting the AAASP website at www.adaptedsports.org or by contacting their school athletic department. Videos of each sport are also online at the site.

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