Hundreds of disabled athletes participate in multi-sport games

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SAN ANTONIO – Athletes with different physical abilities participated in sports such as tennis, ergon cycling and track and field competitions at Morgan’s Wonderland Park, Morgan’s Wonderland Sport, STAR Soccer Complex and Heroes Stadium.

“Representation matters. I know that I was not able to meet other children with disabilities before going to camps like this. It’s huge,” said Dana Matthewson.

Matthewson is no stranger to competition. She was a two-time Paralympic tennis player and represented Team USA in Tokyo and Rio.

On Saturday, her career took her to San Antonio.

“It means a lot that I’m coming back now as a coach and learning how to teach people and see little kids get excited the same way I did,” Matthewson said.

This weekend, she and other coaches and volunteers helped athletes competing at the Texas Regional Games presented by The Hartford.

“It’s a buildup for them to come out and compete and show what they’ve got in training. It’s so hard to do a lot, some of our injured service members and it’s really part of their rehabilitation,” said Wendy Gumbert, Texas Regional Games Director.

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The scale of this competition is impressive – only a handful of these multi-sport competitions take place in the state.

“We are part of the United competition series and this series serves the whole of the United States and has more than 10, almost 15 competitions,” Gumbert said.

Although this number is small, the impact it has on the lives of competing athletes is significant.

“Having a disability does not limit you as many people think. When you see someone in a wheelchair and it raises awareness about fairness, there are so many good things that come out of it,” Matthewson said.

Some of the athletes at the games are preparing to qualify for the 2022 UIL Athletics Championships, while others are hoping to qualify for the Para-Olympics.

Games continue Sunday with the awards ceremony at 3 p.m.

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