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Mary Free Bed hosts its first Wheelchair Football Clinic

Posted at 10:41 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 22:46:52-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — They're no stranger to helping those with disabilities be included in sports, and on Wednesday, Mary Free Bed hosted its first ever Wheelchair Football Clinic.

The clinic was put on through a partnership with Move United.

"We empower thousands of athletes every year to reach their potential through adaptive sports," said Karalyn Stott with Move United.

Stott manages the USA Wheelchair Football League, which was announced by the NFL to help grow the sport.

"[It's] a brand new initiative of Move United, which is funded in part by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and NFL Salute to Service Program," said Stott.

Move United says the effort has allowed to them put together nine teams in its competitive league.

On Wednesday, a handful of wheelchair athletes gathered at the Mary Free Bed YMCA to learn football drills.

"I enjoy it with the throwing that we're learning now, the cracking skulls with the hitting each other with our wheelchairs and everything like that," wheelchair athlete Speedie told FOX 17. "I might as well go out and try it now you know, with my MS and being in a wheelchair and everything like that. So it's it's just a lot of fun that we have going out right and everything."

The USA Wheelchair Football League was founded in 2019 and had a bit of a pause with Covid, but organizers say, they're now looking forward to getting back in the game and bringing joy to those who want to play it.

"We're really excited to hopefully be expanding to you know, in the semi near future, as many cities as we can, we want to make sure as many athletes have access to the sport of football as possible," said Stott.

Mary Free Bed says it will look at doing more Wheelchair Football Clinics in the future, based on potential interest. They also say it's possible a they may start a team in the future.

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