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Wheelchair football coming to CLC

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published May 24, 2022

After College of Lake County (CLC) hosted exhibition wheelchair football games for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) last fall, students were excited to know when something like that would happen again.

The wheelchair football exhibition game last fallAccess and Disability Resource Center Director Thomas Crowe and CLC Director of Athletics and Physical Activities Bradley Unger talked about adaptive sports opportunities in the past, but listening to the buzz helped get a plan in motion. This fall, CLC will begin its own intramural wheelchair football team.

While adaptive sports provide opportunities for students and athletes with physical disabilities, the team at CLC will welcome ambulatory ones as well. With every player in a chair, the playing field will be level.

“Football is one of the most inclusive adaptive sports because even people who use motorized wheelchairs can play,” Crowe said. “The rules are adjusted to allow those that may not have use of their arms to play the sport.”

The sport is like regular football, with slight differences in team and field sizes. Though tackling is done the same as touch football, there are a lot of collisions between the chairs.

Initial start-up funding for the team will come from the health and wellness council, diversity council and CLC Foundation. The health and wellness council and athletics department are splitting the annual maintenance costs of equipment, team uniforms, and helmets.

The chairs are custom made and are provided by Per4max, a Texas-based company that creates custom wheelchairs. They are CLC colors, blue with bright green wheels. There is also a special bar by the legs for protection during collisions.

Before the season begins, Crowe and Unger will be trained as coaches.

The team, nicknamed the Wheeled Lancers, is starting off as an intramural team, but Unger said adaptive sports has been a topic athletic directors talk about during conference meetings.

“Being one of the first colleges to have an adaptive sports team like this, I hope to see other schools follow suit,” Unger said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our students with disabilities and a chance for CLC to engage with the community.”

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.