By MIA VIDAKOVIC
ATLANTA – BlazeSports America, a hidden confidence booster for physically disabled kids and adults, is set to develop and participate in more events for 2013, aiming to create more awareness for the organization and the people it supports.
BlazeSports America is a nonprofit organization legacy of the 1996 Paralympic Games held in Atlanta. Located in Decatur, the organization provides sport and recreational activities for people with physical disabilities. By working with other partners in the community, it
provides innovative and interdisciplinary programs. The organization’s mission is to improve the lives of children and adults with physical disabilities worldwide.
BlazeSports offers five divisions and programs and each one hosts and embodies a different essential for the disabled. Each division and program organizes multiple events and training seminars throughout the year.
The organization goes through rigorous training programs during the year in order to keep up with latest techniques used to cope with physical disabilities. BlazeSports serves children and adults with spinal cord injury, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy, amputation, visual impairment as well as many other
It continuously focuses on key messages to encourage parent participation in the development of a child’s physical ability.
“We strongly believe that parents are the driving force to help kids live healthy lifestyles and use sports as a key instrument to help with all types of physical disabilities,” said Mara Galic, CEO of BlazeSports America.
Currently BlazeSports is working on an ambassador deal with a few publicized athletes who have struggled with physical disability. With this, the organization hopes to bring further participation and continue its overall services in the local communities.
As of last November, the organization has been working on a fundraising opportunity with Aimee Copeland, the Georgia graduate student who fought a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection last spring. Copeland, who needed several of her limbs amputated to survive the aggressive infection, believes in physical activity as a coping mechanism.
BlazeSports America is set to assist in the wheelchair basketball event alongside the Atlanta Hawks sometime in March. The organization also plans to host the South Eastern Championship Conference with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association on March 9-10. It recently opened registration for its summer Blazecamp 2013.
With programs such as these, organizers hope for more athletic participation and new member registration.
The organization pushes its athletes to their fullest potential. Its goal is to inspire them to go on and pursue various accomplishments. Kids who start off in BlazeSports usually go on to compete in highly competitive sporting events. These achievements give meaning to the overall mission of the organization.
“I trust that BlazeSports will be my lifeline to a better future, and I truly value the people involved in the program,” said Bryan Powell, who was chosen for the 2012 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field High School All American Team.
Gillian Sharp, manager of community projects at BlazeSports America, says the key ingredient that the organization is missing is awareness.
She said she believes the organization’s service is versatile enough to accommodate everyone, yet genuine enough to embody the family style of doing business.
“In a weird way having our athletes refer to us as their dysfunctional family has given
me a sense of accomplishment through my work with BlazeSports America,” said