Central N.Y. group encourages involvment in inclusion sports

Nov 15, 2013

Advocates for the disabled in central New York want to encourage more participation in inclusion sports.  

Greg Cullen, founder of the group Move Along Inc., said the idea is that people with physical limitations and able-bodied people can play sports together.

"You really get confidence," Cullen said. "You then are willing to engage or approach other individuals, that typically, maybe before you had an awkwardness or a fear of doing. And these types of activities can increase that confidence, so these people can continue to engage."  

Cullen, who became paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 29, said he believes that those who are disabled, shouldn't be left out of the life skills that can come from being on a sports team.

Cullen is working through local schools to create more awareness of inclusion sports. Using an example from a beer commercial, Cullen described how inclusion sports could be.

"There's six people playing wheelchair basketball in a gymnasium.  And at the end of the game, five individuals stand up and walk away, and one individual stays in his chair and rolls with his friends to a bar for a beer," Cullen said. "That's a perfect example of the environment that Move Along is trying to create as a standard in society."

Getting more participation from individuals who are disabled can be a challenge, and that's where Peyton Sefick of Baldwinsville comes in.  

He's traveled the world as part of a competitive power soccer team, and is starting a network called Fit-In. The goal of the network is to get the word out about the athletic opportunities in central New York ranging from adaptive skiing, to wheelchair basketball, to power soccer.  

Sefick said he wants everyone who wants participate to be aware of the opportunities of inclusion sports, opportunities that have made a difference in his life.
"It would be a lot different if I wasn't able to get out and play sports," Sefick said. "I'd probably be sitting inside right now, wallowing in my sorrows."