Read the interivew with Aaron Fotheringham
Med Services Europe has launched what is believed is the largest collection of free Wheelchair Sports Videos on the internet. The collection was created to serve as a resource to anyone interested in the subject of wheelchair sports and to raise the awareness of wheelchair sports and wheelchair athletes in the public as well as the media. Dr Emmer, president of Med Services Europe believes that the media is simply not giving wheelchiar sports the attention it deserves. "While the media celebrates the abilities of sports legends such as Kobe Bryant and Michael Schumacher most sports writers can not name more than a few wheelchair athletes", says Dr Emmer "But let's see Kobe Bryant sink a 3 pointer or make a lay-up from a wheelchair."
"Many wheelchair athletes have survived injuries that would have left the majority of us side-lined for life. They have not only come back from their injuries, they have shown us that they are heroes. But are we paying attention?" asked Dr Emmer.
"Most sports publications have very sparce coverage of wheelchair sports and athletes. One of the few exceptions is the BBC, which devotes an entire section of its website to Disability Sport, with frequent news, videos and updates. They are setting an example for other leading newspapers and broadcasters around the world. Unfortunately, most of BBC’s videos are restricted to UK viewers only." said Dr Emmer.
Dr. Emmer believes that the reason for the absence of news about wheelchair sports is probably due to the underestimation of the interest. But in the US alone there are appromately 1.6 million wheelchair users. In Europe there is a similar number. In addition, according to US census statistics:
Are Wheelchair Sports of interest to non-wheelchair users?
"Absolutely!", said Dr Emmer. "Just watch Aaron Fotheringham do his amazing 180 degree, mid-air turn while "skateboarding" or watch the intensity of Wheelchair Rugby, A.K.A. 'Murderball', or the thrill of Wheelchair Paragliding. These are athletes who are amazing performers and entertainers. But due to the unfortunate under-reporting by the media, most people do not know that they exist."
"We are just at the beginning of building our video collection, but have already gathered a wide-range of videos representing some exceptionally talented wheelchair athletes, including wheelchair tennis player Ester Vergeer, wheelchair basketball player Ade Adeptan, murderball player Mark Zupan and the young wheelchair skateboarder Aaron Fotheringham. We have free instructional videos for Wheelchair Tennis, Wheelchair Tennis and Wheelchair Rugby. The videos represent an excellent cross-section of wheelchair sports and demonstrates the many opportunities available to wheelchair users.
On the topic of challenges to creating the collection, Dr Emmer said,"One of our challenges is copyright issues. So instead of downloading the videos to our website, generally we create a link to the source website and the video opens directly when clicked. The risk is that each website uses different video players. Some prefer QuickTime, others Real Player and still others Media Player. Since not all computers will have all types of video players installed, some people will not be able to see all of the videos."
"Our vision is that this will become the largest collection of wheelchair sports videos on the internet. Our hope is that it will serve as a resource for sports journalists and the public and help to raise awareness to wheelchair sports. We are asking the public to help us by suggesting cool wheelchair sports videos and to recommend this website so that others become aware. And we are challenging the sports media to give these remarkable men and women the attention that they deserve."
The collection of wheelchair sports videos can be viewed by clicking HERE
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