Collegiate student founds group to promote adapted sportsBy Deb Gruver
The Wichita Eagle
The greeting on Rob Egans cellphone goes something like this:
Hello. Youve reached Rob with American Collegiate Society for Adapted Athletics. Im unavailable at the present time.
Leave your name and number, and hell be happy to call you back.
Thank you very much and have an excellent day, Rob tells you at the end.
Rob is 16.
The junior at Wichita Collegiate School is founder of the aforementioned group aforementioned is a word Rob probably would use. It is a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status and a 13-member board of directors.
The society aims to be a clearinghouse for adapted sports at the college level, and this weekend, people can support it at the third annual Wheelchair Basketball Bash.
Rob has spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. His brain doesnt tell his legs when to move.
He walks with a cane.
When he was 14, he came up with the idea for the society and wrote about it for a contest about how he could change the world.
I didnt win the contest, and I didnt like that I didnt win the contest, Rob said. So I decided to prove to the judges that I could do it anyway.
Rob met with trademark lawyers. He put together a board of directors. He interviewed website designers.
Hes building a database of clubs and intramural sports groups that give people with disabilities a chance to compete athletically.
Soccer, baseball, rugby, basketball, tennis, sled hockey.
So far, Rob said, Ball State University has signed up to help get other universities to participate.
The database, he said, will give us the ability to sort by sport and region and organize them into tournaments.
The tournament this weekend was created so high school students, just regular high school students you see in the halls of my high school, could come in and get in a sport wheelchair and play basketball and see what they would feel like.
Competing in a wheelchair is difficult, Rob said.
The tournament this weekend allows teams of five or six players.
I always tell them, You want six. Youll want the sub. Youll get tired.
On Saturday, two wheelchair teams will compete against five teams of high school students and one team of teachers.
Wheelchair Sports Incorporated will provide 10 wheelchairs, which will allow one game at a time.
The tournament starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 5:30 p.m. in the Upper School gym at Collegiate. Tickets are $3.
Robs mother, Cindy Egan, said she is incredibly proud of her son.
What we really thought was a cute idea could become his lifes calling, she said.
Rob will present his idea this summer at an adapted sports conference in New Orleans.
Cindy Egan said her son has a positive attitude about his cerebral palsy most of the time. He has four younger brothers who are all pretty active athletically. It does get hard sometimes when he wishes he could be out there.
Chris Ashbrook, head of the Upper School at Collegiate, serves as the president of the groups board.
When Rob asked Ashbrook to be president, Ashbrook said he thought Sure, Ill try to help, never believing that three years later, Rob would be speaking to a national conference. Its great that the potential has started to become realized. Im glad I did say yes to Rob.Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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