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Sports festival at Cal State San Bernardino draws hundreds of athletes with disabilities

By in Press Enterprise on October 9, 2017

By Brian Whitehead

A girl in a wheelchair did not think she could scale a rock-climbing wall.

A volunteer at Saturday’s DisABILITY Sports Festival at Cal State San Bernardino told her otherwise.

“I can?” the girl asked.

“Yes.”

Sure enough, the girl scaled the wall with the help of a volunteer and rang the bell at the top. Once back on solid ground, the girl was told she could cross something off of her bucket list.

Judo was one of the sports offered at Cal State San Bernardino’s 11th annual DisABILITY Sports Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7. More than 700 athletes with disabilities participated. (Photo courtesy of Cal State San Bernardino)

Stories of personal triumph swept the 11th annual DisABILITY Sports Festival, where 700 athletes with disabilities showcased their chops in archery, basketball, soccer and dozens of other popular and niche sports.

“We believe that a disability does not equal inability,” said Ginger Hartman, a recent CSUSB grad and an event organizer. “We believe the only limits you have are the ones you place on yourself.

“There are groups of people who don’t believe they can do these things. We want them to know they can do whatever they want.”

Former Dodgers pitcher Dennis Powell ceremoniously opened the festival and pitched to kids hoping to get a knock off a former major leaguer.

Hartman said one boy told organizers he’d never met a celebrity before Powell signed his shirt.

“Now I have,” he bragged.

Athletes ranged in age from 2 to their mid-70s, and many coaches were adults overcoming the same disabilities as their pupils.

“A mom with a son who has Down syndrome and also is autistic told us she had a hard time getting him involved in sports,” Hartman said. “And he got onto the climbing wall and would not get off. She sent us a picture (on Sunday) and told us he’s now […]    

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