Wisconsin’s First Ever Regional Qualifying event for Disabled Youth Athletes comes to Sauk County
Track and Field competition to be held at Sauk Prairie High School Sunday, May 22
(Prairie du Sac, WI) – Dean Clinic’s Sports Medicine department is proud to be a presenting sponsor for the inaugural Dairyland Games, Wisconsin’s first ever regional qualifying event for disabled youth athletes ages 6 to 22.
Athletes who qualify in the Dairyland Games and other similar events nationwide are then eligible to participate in the Adaptive Sports USA Junior National Games. Past participants in the Junior National Games have gone on to international competition in the Paralympic Games.
Previously, athletes hoping to compete in a regional qualifying event needed to travel longer distances to attend events in Minneapolis, Chicago and beyond.
“We want to make sure athletes of all abilities are given the opportunity to train and compete safely in events closer to home,” says Deb Jenks, an athletic trainer in Dean Clinic’s Sports Medicine department. “Part of bringing the Games here is educating the community about the importance of specially trained coaches, trainers, certifiers and officials so these events can continue and grow in Wisconsin. Providing more opportunities for competition without extensive travel opens doors to athletes and families who may otherwise be unable to travel to large qualifying events. We also hope sponsoring the state’s first qualifying event will help shine a light on the incredible talent these young athletes possess.”
Jenks says it’s important to show youth athletes, their families and the public that physical disabilities do not need to limit a person’s ability to compete in athletics.
“Physical disabilities may present new challenges for an athlete, but for many there are still ways to continue participating in the sports world,” says Jenks. “For blind athletes a new skill set may be needed to run while tethered to a seeing partner. Running on prosthetic limbs requires significant re-learning and unique training, but is not impossible.”
The Dairyland Games kick off at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 at Sauk Prairie High School. They will offer track and field athletes the opportunity to compete in a sanctioned, qualifying event before the 2016 Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals event in July.
In addition to the track and field events Sunday afternoon, parents, coaches and community members are also encouraged to participate in training sessions on Saturday, May 21, and on Sunday morning. Training sessions will include information on becoming a qualified race certifier or becoming a qualified coach who can work with disabled youth athletes to help them train and compete safely in their chose track or field event.