Adaptive Camp Helps Young Athletes With Physical Disabilities Play Sports

Athletes are athletes.

“They just want to hit the ball again. They just want to work on their skill set,” Karin Korb said, while instructing a group of campers at the Ivan Lendl Adaptive Sports Camp last week.

Like any athlete, they’ll tell you about themselves. For some, that’s explaining that they have cerebral palsy. For others, describing a paralyzing gymnastics back injury. But these athletes would rather just tell you about their game.

“I always try to hit the ball, no matter what,” said camper Hennessy Hernandez. “No matter how bad it might be.”

For one week each summer, that’s all these athletes have to focus on. Between basketball and tennis instruction, there’s hardly any time to explain the answers to their frequently asked questions.

“You don’t learn to walk so you can play basketball or something,” Hernandez said. “You have to learn the game.”

Enfield’s Andrew Haraghey is back as an instructor at this year’s camp, fresh from his Paralympic debut. He finished 18th in downhill and 24th in Super-G in PyeongChang, but his journey to becoming a Paralympian started at the Ivan Lendl camp.

“Before that, I hadn’t really thought about using a wheelchair,” said Haraghey on his start in adaptive sports.

And he’s not the only world class athlete instructing at the camp. Korb is a two-time Paralympian and 10-time tennis world team member. Now, they’re teaching the next generation.

“These kids are going to go and be like, ‘wow, I know how to play tennis,’” said Korb. “Or, ‘I know instructors who play tennis,’ or, ‘I have friends who play tennis and if you want to play tennis with me, I can play tennis with you.’”

The Ivan Lendl Adaptive Sports Camp is run through the Hospital For Special Care. It is entirely volunteer based. You can find more information for interested campers or on volunteering here.

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