This week, two unique sports teams from the University of Alabama are vying for a national championship. They’re the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams, better known as the Rolling Tide. The university has a number of sports for disabled athletes and between games, these players have to stay in shape. That’s leading to a partnership between wheelchair athletes and a man known in the world of boxing as “The Bronze Bomber.”
The University of Alabama is known for its championship athletic teams. Football, gymnastics, softball and so on; but there is another group of athletes on campus who are also champions, although they do not draw crowds like Coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide football team. They are the Rolling Tide and they are part of the University of Alabama’s Adapted Athletics program.
The University of Alabama says its establishing the nation's first collegiate adapted golf program.
The university's adapted athletics program is already home to the national championship men's and women's wheelchair basketball teams. Head Coach Ford Burttram says feedback from athletes and student veterans encouraged the creation of the program.
The team is expected to compete in upcoming Amputee Golf Association events.
The 2012 Paralympic Games in London kick off today and the University of Alabama has is well represented in this year’s games. Seven athletes from UA’s Adapted Athletics program will compete in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis. Charlie Katica is head coach for the women’s wheelchair basketball team at UA.
“Everyone who’s here is extremely motivated,” says Katica. “Really the challenges were to almost hold them back at some point just because they were training real hard and really trying to be at their peak for the Paralympics.”