Celebrating all-abilities through winter sports

Feb 19, 2022, 10:19 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:42 pm

PARK CITY, Utah — Hopeful athletes gathered at a Park City ice rink Saturday to promote inclusion and learn new skills.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation is a non-profit that has been using sports to help athletes with permanent physical disabilities for 28 years.

“It’s all about representation,” Darcey Rayner, an event sponsor with Toyota, said. “We got some kids interested in some new sports, and we’ll see where that takes them in the future.”

Mentors and Paralympic stars dotted the ice, including Gold Paralympic medalist Taylor Lipsett.

“This experience reminds me of when I was 15. I had never been on ice before. I got out and tried sled hockey for the first time, and it really changed my life,” Lipsett said.

The world champion, who competed with the USA Sled Hockey team in 2006, 2010 and 2014, said Saturday was the first time his children got into sleds.

“Today has been awesome!” Lipsett said.

Those of all abilities played sled hockey.

“I love watching ice hockey. But take away my legs, and now I am the same level as my 6-year-old,” Mica Hauley said. “I am here with my children. We are gaining a whole new appreciation of the sport.”

On Saturday, Challenged Athletes Foundation awarded a 49-year-old woman — who recently suffered a stroke and lost physical abilities — an adaptive bike.

“We provide access: granting adaptive equipment, coaching, training, mentoring and expenses. Those are things that aren’t typically covered by insurance,” said NancyReynolds, director of business development with the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Another winter festival will be held March 12 and 13th in Park City.

More information can be found at the non-profit’s website.

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Celebrating all-abilities through winter sports