Adaptive Sports Venues
Virginia G Piper Sports & Fitness Center
In terms of whats news in the world of the disabled community and Arizona, it does not get much bigger than the opening of the Virginia G Piper Sports & Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SpoFit).
The SpoFit is one of two centers in the U.S. that is specifically designed for people with disabilities. It features two full-size basketball courts, an indoor suspended jogging track, climbing wall, fitness center and three pools. The center is designed for the public to enjoy and also to serve as a venue for national and international sporting events. In December, the center will be hosting it’s first Wounded Warrior event for newly disabled veterans.
The center will be home to the Phoenix Heat wheelchair rugby team, who’s roster includes numerous gold-medal Paralympians, and the Banner Phoenix Suns and Mercury wheelchair basketball teams (www.bannerwheelchairsuns.org). The basketball courts have a both 10′ and 8′ hoops to allow youths to play more competitive basketball.
One of the main attractions for competitive sports is the venue’s lockers, bathrooms and team equipment facilities. Every space is designed to accommodate many athletes in wheelchairs at one time. The showers are all accessible. Not just a few, all of them. As is the locker area and spectator seating. For team sports, the venue has a basement that will be quartered off to allow teams to lock up their sports chairs and equipment.
Amber Blanchard is the manager of the SpoFit. She was most recently the therapeutic recreation program coordinator at The Bend Park and Recreation District in Bend, Oregon, and program director/ board member at Oregon Adaptive Sports. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Arkansas. She is a current member of the National Recreation and Parks Association (N.R.P.A.) and National Therapeutic Recreation Society (N.T.R.S), Arizona Therapeutic Recreation Association (ASTRA), and has been Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Recreation for over a decade.
The fitness center is on the second floor. The center has two elevators. The spacious work-out center includes an all-accessible line of Cybex weight-training and aerobic equipment. Gabe Gerbic is the fitness manager. He has a B.S. in Exercise Science/Exercise Physiology and a Masters in Physical Education with an emphasis in exercise physiology.
The SpoFit opened for business in late October, The grand opening ceremony will be in February, 2012. The 3-day event will feature key-note speaker, Anthony Robles, the Arizona State University alumni who in spite of being an amputee became the NCAA wrestling champion at 125lbs.
The center is open 6 days a week. Adults pay $35/month or $5.00/visit. Scholarships are available. Visit the center at www.disabilitysportcenter.org.
[Ed note: author is affiliated with ABIL and the SpoFit]
The New Disability Empowerment Center Sports and Fitness Center includes three pools, a climbing wall, a full track, basketball courts, a weight and exercise room all set up to handle a variety of disabilities.
Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities
The Lakeshore Foundation’s state of the art fitness, recreation, and education center features an aquatics center with two pools, a fieldhouse with three hardwood courts and a 200-meter track, a ten-lane marksmanship range, 6,000 square foot fitness center and The Fred Sington Community Room. These facilities serve the fitness, recreation, and athletic needs of youth and adults with physically disabling conditions from across the Southeast. For more information on these programs, click here.
Our facility also serves as an official U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site that can accommodate a variety of sports. The Lakeshore Foundation Training Site not only provides training facilities to Olympic & Paralympic sports, but also provides sport performance, sports psychology, and sport science services. For more information on the Lakeshore Foundation U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site, click here.
Hours of Operation:
Weekdays: 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.*
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