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Challenged Athletes Foundation supports paralympians

SAN DIEGO — The Challenged Athletes Foundation┬« (CAF), a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved in sports, announced today that more than 87 challenged athletes participating in the upcoming London 2012 Paralympic Games — including 74, or one third, of the 227 U.S. athletes — have received funding from CAF. CAF grantees include medal favorites such Oz Sanchez (handcycling), Rudy Garcia-Tolson (swimming and athletics), Blake Leeper (athletics) and Muffy Davis (handcycling).

“A major part of CAF’s mission is to change perceptions of what challenged athletes can do. We are thrilled to play a critical role in getting these athletes to the starting line so the world can marvel at their athleticism and skill.”

The London games will see record participation by CAF-supported athletes. At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, 46 U.S. challenged athletes (21 percent) were supported by CAF. At the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympic Games, 21 (over 40 percent) of the participating U.S. athletes were supported by CAF.

“The Paralympic Games are the highest level of competition for athletes with physical challenges,” said Virginia Tinley, CAF’s Executive Director. “A major part of CAF’s mission is to change perceptions of what challenged athletes can do. We are thrilled to play a critical role in getting these athletes to the starting line so the world can marvel at their athleticism and skill.”

Since 1994, the Challenged Athletes Foundation has raised in excess of $40 million and satisfied almost 7,000 funding requests from physically challenged athletes across the United States and around the world. CAF provides grants to athletes at all levels to fund the purchase of expensive adaptive equipment (such as running feet, racing chairs and handcycles) and to help pay for coaching and travel expenses. More often than not, required adaptive equipment is not covered by conventional medical insurance and challenged athletes face economic roadblocks that can prevent them from not only succeeding in sports, but from getting a chance to participate at all.

In 2012, CAF provide 1,106 such grants to athletes around the world, worth more than $1.7 million. Additionally, CAF offers free adaptive sports clinics and mentoring programs that build the skills and confidence that challenged athletes need to reach their athletic goals.

“Every cycle, the number of athletes who vie for a coveted spot in the Paralympics is increasing,” said Tinley. “We see this as a positive indicator that our message is resonating with challenged athletes and that participation in sports is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. We will continue to fund and support challenged athletes - here in the United States and around the world - as we continue to work towards a world where challenged athletes are accepted on the same level as able-bodied ones.”

Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved — and stay involved — in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $40 million has been raised and almost 7,000 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.

 

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