TUCSON (KVOA) – More than a dozen University of Arizona athletes past, present and future are proud to represent their country at the Paralympic Games. That list includes UArizona wheelchair tennis head coach Brayn Barten.
He is preparing to participate in his third Paralympic tennis match. Barten said he was proud to be a role model for other people in wheelchairs.
“Someone who maybe sees me playing tennis with my disability, that might encourage him to try it out himself,” Barten said. “Sport is so important for our mental well-being.”
Barten will represent Team USA in wheelchair tennis as a very experienced athlete. He also competed in the London 2012 games and the Rio 2016 games.
“Everyone has a unique situation,” Barten said, as he spoke about some of the difficulties in playing wheelchair tennis, “My grip is very weak, so I stick the racket to my hand, so I I’m stuck in a it’s a challenge from the start. Moving the chair, mobility, is very strategic, so having the strength to move the chair in a strong way [is important]. You can’t just move, if someone hits the ball high above you then the points are over, so I have to move, recover, then return the ball. “
Here is a list of the Arizona athletes and their involvement in the Paralympic Games:
United States Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team
- Darlene Hunter (co-team captain) third at the Paralympic Games won gold in 2016
- Natalie Schneider (co-team captain) fourth at the Paralympic Games won gold in 2008 and 2016
- Josie Aslakson (new University of Arizona women’s basketball coach, graduated last semester) first-time Paralympian
- Courtney Ryan (University of Arizona women’s basketball assistant coach (graduated 2015) first-time Paralympian
- Five-time Paralympian David Wagner. Two bronzes, three silvers and three golds
- Bryan Barten three-time Paralympian (head coach of the University of Arizona wheelchair tennis program)
- Double Paralympian Dana Mathewson (University of Arizona Grad)
- Four-time Paralympian Kaitlyn Verfeurth, three-time first tennis. This time she is going as a 2013 Arizona Graduated Rower)
Wheelchair rugby (remember that our wheelchair rugby team is the current double reigning national champion!)
- Chuck Aoki third time Paralympian bronze winner (2012) silver winner (2016)
- Chad Cohn third time Paralympian bronze winner (2012) silver winner (2016) (current head coach of the University of Arizona wheelchair rugby program)
- Lee Fredette, two-time Paralympian winner of the Silvers 2016
- Josh Wheeler, 2016 two-time Paralympian silver winner (full-time students at the University of Arizona)
- Daisuke Ikezaki two-time bronze Paralympian winner 2016 (team Japan)