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Budget boost for UA wheelchair and other adaptive sports

Gov. Ducey visits adaptive athletes
Posted at 9:05 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 00:24:07-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Teachers will tell you there can be a lot to learn from sports. Tuesday, Governor Doug Ducey visited a University of Arizona sports program that could teach us all about determination and drive.

At the UA Recreation Center players are rolling through their games with a toughness any athlete would be hard pressed to match.

They are in wheelchairs as they play basketball and rugby as part of University of Arizona's adaptive athletics program---a program that teaches them to push past obstacles and win.

Rugby player Joshua Wheeler says, “We're just as aggressive we play just as hard. We have just much drive, the only difference is that some of us use wheelchairs.”

Wheeler used that drive to help his team win a Silver Medal for rugby in the Rio Paralympics.

Governor Doug Ducey came to visit the players and see what UA says is the largest adaptive sports program anywhere in the U.S. The State of Arizona is helping to make it bigger and better, with 200 thousand dollars for adaptive sports in the latest state budget.

Governor Ducey says, “It's something all Arizona should be proud of. It's something that should be at every large university in the country. It provides a great outlet for these athletes and students that results in employment for them After graduation. And it's a lot of fun to watch."

Jesse Robinson is an alumnus of UA wheelchair basketball. He's excited about that boost of state support.

"We also get a chance to, to achieve our educational goals. And we get a chance to achieve our athletic goals. So that's amazing to see a lot of guys going back to school, getting their degrees and it's good to see a lot of guys being able to be a student athlete again."

The adaptive program showed off it's new golf simulator. It can help players hit the ball with power and perfection.

UA says the adaptive program helps recruit good students and help them succeed in anything they do but they hope other schools will build up their adaptive programs too because these athletes need more teams to beat.