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  1. #1
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    Team meeting: Adaptive athletes enjoy special day at Vikings

    Published August 08, 2006 11:10 pm

    Physically disabled kids and adults got some serious VIP treatment Tuesday as special guests at the Vikings training camp.

    [size=18px]Team meeting[/size]
    Adaptive athletes enjoy special day at Vikings camp


    By Nick Hanson
    The Free Press


    MANKATO —
    Physically disabled kids and adults got some serious VIP treatment Tuesday as special guests at the Vikings training camp.

    They sat super close to the sidelines during morning practice and later on met, greeted and received autographs from some of the Vikings marquee players, including Matt Birk and Darren Sharper.

    The group of about 55 from across the state are avid participants in adaptive sports like power soccer, basketball and downhill skiing — sports specifically designed for anybody who has a permanent disability such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy or a spinal cord injury.

    Spending the day in the company of professional athletes was extra thrilling for kids such as Whitney Andow, a Cleveland resident, who said she looks to Vikings players as role models and for inspiration.

    “I’m an extremist Vikings fan. I have everything Vikings,” Andow said. “I was hoping that some day I can get famous in the adaptive sports.”

    Andow and a few other Mankato-area residents who participate in Community Education/Recreation adaptive sports programs were asked to join the festivities by Roll With It, a nonprofit Minnesota adaptive sporting league that helped plan the event.

    “They feel like all-stars (for the day),” said Heidi Schwichtenberg, executive director of Roll With It. “Hopefully we can continue this tradition because they love this opportunity.”

    Schwichtenberg said it was also a good opportunity to network with Mankato Community Education and Recreation about teaming up for more programming in the future.

    “It’s fabulous that they are giving this opportunity to our athletes,” said Dalaine Remes, the Mankato program supervisor for the ability center community education support services.

    It was a plus that Mankato people with a physical disability got to chat with other adaptive athletes from around the state, too, Remes said.

    Like Mankato resident Lynette Volkman, who took up adaptive sports after suffering a spinal injury.

    “When I started doing them, it gave me so much back,” she said.

    Tuesday, however, she was content with enjoying the day perched high atop the handicap accessible Vikings VIP lounge deck to watch the team practice with her 8- and 12-year-old children.

    “This is so neat,” she said. “We don’t get the opportunity to do things like this because of accessibility.”

    Team meeting

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  2. #2
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Team meeting: Adaptive athletes enjoy special day at Vikings

    Great story! My wife works with disabled children, great to see stories like this instead of the typical negative stories.

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