The Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Adaptive Recreation Program hosted the 9th annual Metal and Muscle Expo on December 8-10, 2017. The 9th annual event featured Paralympic and other disabled sport clinics as well as individual and team competitions. See the program highlights and how you can get involved in more events below!
Houston Has a Long History of Supporting the Disability Community
The city of Houston has a rich history in disability rights. Over the years, they’ve lead the way with innovative programs, including a program in 1972 that became a model for independent living centers across the nation along with the Center for Independent Living in Berkley. Read more of their disability history here.
Houston is also the home of Lex Frieden, an educator, researcher, disability rights activist and one of the architects of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s (H.P.A.R.D) Adaptive Recreation Section was created in 2006 to offer a variety of recreational, sporting and quality of life programming for people with disabilities. Opportunities include structured classes, a fitness room, a full court gym, an indoor heated pool for use by people with disabilities, a beep baseball field, a tennis court, a quarter-mile outdoor trail, and an urban garden.
If you’re interested in getting involved with recreational or adaptive sport opportunities in Houston, you can find out more by visiting their website to see a list of their current programs.
Metal and Muscle Expo is an Opportunity for Veterans and Individuals with Physical Disabilities to Experience and Compete in Adaptive Sports
The Metal and Muscle Expo began in 2009 due in part by a grant from the Department of Defense and the United States Olympic Committee in an effort to introduce various Paralympic and other disabled sports to injured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The event has grown over the years and now includes several team sports tournaments and individual sports clinics, demonstrations and competitions.
Last year’s Metal and Muscle Expo featured:
- a 12 team wheelchair rugby tournament,
- 10 team youth and adult wheelchair basketball tournament,
- 4 team wheelchair soccer tournament,
- 4 team power soccer tournament,
- an air rifle clinic and competition,
- a boccia ball clinic and competition, and
- clinics in hand cycling, judo, power lifting, wheelchair tennis and indoor rowing.
Over 750 participants competed and at-tended the clinics and just over 2500 attended the three day event.
Although this event is open to all with physical disabilities, the program was born to serve America’s veterans.
Service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with permanent physical disabilities are encouraged to attend.
For more information about the Houston Metal and Muscle Expo, click here.
Why You Should Consider Getting Involved in Adaptive Sports
The benefit of sport and physical activity for people with disabilities has so many benefits that positively impact every area of an individual’s life. The National Center for Biotechnology (U.S. National Library of Medicine) reports:
“Likely psychological gains include an improvement of mood-state, with a reduction of anxiety and depression, an increase of self-esteem and feelings of greater self-efficacy. Sociological gains include new experiences, new friendships, and a countering of stigmatization. Perceived health is improved, and in a more long-term perspective there is a reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Finally, there is a greater likelihood of employment, with less absenteeism and enhanced productivity.”
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