When Michael Braun first began volunteering with the Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Power Soccer Program, he had little knowledge of the competitive team sport developed specifically for power wheelchair users.
Although he wasn’t familiar with the specifics of the game, an interest was sparked and he began volunteering with the team. He brought with him a spirit for helping others, a passion for the sport of soccer, and his background as an occupational therapist for Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital.
He attended a few practices and walked away with a new appreciation for the skill and tactic involved in the fast-pace game.
Towards the end of the 2012 season, he was asked to take on the role of head coach for the Brooks Barracudas Power Soccer Team.
“Growing up with soccer, I knew I wanted to get involved in the community and coach a youth team of some sorts, but when this opportunity came about, I had to jump at the chance to be a part of it,” he explained.
Power Soccer is the first competitive sport created specifically for power wheelchair users. Participants include those with quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, head trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury and other disabilities.
As Michael took on the role as head coach, he gained a new appreciation for the sport. To play the game well, Power Soccer requires a player to have skill with maneuvering the wheelchair’s speed and power while understanding the complexity of the game itself.
“I was drawn to the motivation of the players on the team,” he said, adding, “They were interested in learning more, practicing, and putting in the work. They took action. They wanted to improve and continue to move up as a team to compete at a higher level.”
Power Soccer first came on the scene back in 1970 by a group of teachers in France who wanted to create a form of football suited to the abilities of students with physical disabilities. Initially, the game was played with an old basketball and boards lining the side of the courts. The game was declared an official international sport in 2004, thanks to the work of US Power Soccer coach, David Ruelas.
Today, Power Soccer consists of two teams of four players on a full size basketball court, striking, spin-kicking, and defending with a 13-inch soccer ball. (Click here to read: The Laws of the Game).
To stay at the top of their game, the Barracudas practice year round, amping up the training in the fall. The season kicks off in November and is then followed by roughly five weekend tournaments, with the end goal of making it to the Conference Cup.
The Barracudas reached this goal this past June, playing in the tournament in Indianapolis and successfully moving up to the 3rd Division known as the Founders Cup.
“I’m very proud of how well they played this year and all the hard work they’ve put into each practice and game,” Michael said. “They’re commitment and dedication is what is going to drive this team to continue to grow and become stronger each season. I’m excited about what the future holds.”
Brooks Barracudas Weekly Practice
Thursdays @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Cuba Hunter Community Center and Gymnasium
3500 Hunter Road
Jacksonville, FL 32207
With the new archery season kicking off once again, the staff and participants of Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation (BASR) program continue to be extremely grateful to the Fort Caroline Archery Club for their generous support over the past 8 years. The Club has donated space, coaching, volunteer service and equipment since 2007.
Participants of BASR practice target archery, the most common form of archery where the shooter shoots at scoring rings on round paper targets at set distances. There are various disiplines and distances to shoot from which allows archers of all skill levels to participate.
Each Monday evening, volunteer coaches Mike Shea and Billy Schneider provide expert instruction while shop owner, Mike Box, provides custom fitting of the equipment to leverage the archers’ skill. It is this generosity that has enabled our Program to quadruple the number of individuals served in the adaptive archery weekly events.
The BASR Archery Events meet on a rotating novice and league night schedule every Monday. Email Jennifer.Guss@brookshealth.org for any additional questions.
The BASR program serves individuals in the Jacksonville community and surrounding areas living with mobility impairment caused by stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and conditions such as parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and more.
Without the Fort Caroline Archery Club as a community partner, the BASR program would not be able to reconnect so many people with their love for the sport of archery and ignite the passion in so many newcomers . The staff, participants and volunteers thank the Fort Caroline Archery Club for helping us enhance the quality of life for our customers.
To learn more about the Fort Caroline Archery Club, visit www.fortcarolinearchers.com.
11678 Fort Caroline Road
Jacksonville, FL. 32225
Pro Shop: (904) 996-0011
Read More about Adaptive Archery in this great article by Disabled Sports USA: http://www.disabledsportsusa.org/archery/
Brooks Adaptive Sports participant and middle school teacher, Stan Harris recently flew to new heights, thanks to the North Florida Soaring Society. Harris was given the opportunity to fly in a super Blanik L 23 two-seater glider, an experience he enthusiastically called a thrilling ride. Harris rode with pilot Jeff Buckholz, the current president of the soaring club.
“My favorite part was when Jeff let me have the controls!”, said Harris, about the 30-minute flight.
Harris learned a lot during his time in the air.
“I was interested to learn that what most people call air turbulence is exactly what the glider pilots look for to help them stay up in the air longer. Instead of turbulence, they call it a thermal, which is rising warm air,” he explained.
To learn more about the North Florida Soaring Society, visit their website.
A big thank you to Atlantic Powder Coating owner Harold Matthews and his team for their support of our program and the Summer Slam Quad Rugby tournament coming up on Saturday, July 19. Atlantic Powder Coating will be donating $500 to cover the cost of lunch for all participants.
The Jacksonville-based company is known for their excellent work in powder coating, welding, furniture repair and sandblasting.
To learn more about the company, visit www.powdercoatingjacksonville.com.
Come spend your summer vacation with the Bandits!
Join us once again for a weekend of full-contact quad wheelchair rugby at the Jacksonville Ice and Sportsplex. All ages and abilities welcome.
Registration limited to the first 50 participants
Registration fee $75.00/person
Includes two lunches and Saturday night Barbecue!
Contact email@example.com for more information.