Written by Sarah Fisher, CEHHS Student Marketing Ambassador and student in the Adaptive Recreation class and FUTURE program.
This fall is the inaugural semester of the new Adaptive Recreation class. It is an eight week Physical Education class on Tuesdays and Thursdays instructed by Nick Geicek and Dr. Scott. The class offers individuals of different disabilities and impairments the opportunity to play sports. Some of the sports we have played this fall are sitting volleyball, bocce ball, and adaptive basketball. The process of making this a course on campus started last spring, when Dr. Scott was speaking to a group of Recreation Sports Management students about Therapeutic Recreation and its programs for the public. One of the students asked, “What do you offer UT students with disabilities?” This one question sparked a movement to offer such a course right here on campus.
Now, graduate student Nick Geicek instructs the Adaptive Recreation class. I asked him what the purpose of the course was and he said, “to expose Therapeutic Recreation students to another side of the field, adaptive sports, while also providing a recreational outlet for UT students with disabilities and impairments. Our ultimate goal is to create an environment in which able-bodied and disabled students can learn, develop skills, and have fun playing sports together.”
For undergrad, Nick majored in Therapeutic Recreation here at the University of Tennessee. He was excited to teach the course for the opportunity to learn more about adaptive sports. Nick explains, “Since this class has never been offered at UT, I have been trying a lot of different strategies and implementation techniques to find the most effective ways to teach these sports to my students.”
Some of my favorite sports from the class are sitting volleyball, bocce ball, and adaptive basketball. I asked Nick which sports have been his favorite so far and he said, “My favorite adaptive sport that we have played is probably sitting volleyball. It was a lot of fun because none of the students have played it before, so it was great to see how much they learned and how much they improved in a matter of weeks.” For the future, Nick said, “A sport I look forward to playing that we have not done yet is wheelchair basketball. Wheelchair basketball would not only be a beneficial sport for students to learn, I think it will also help us attract even more students to take this program to the next level.”
“My favorite part of the class is being able to enjoy time with my peers and learn how to adapt sports for everyone to play.”
I asked a few students some questions about the course. Maddy Young said, “My favorite part of the class is being able to enjoy time with my peers and learn how to adapt sports for everyone to play.” I went on to ask the students why they chose to take the class. Morgan King said, “I thought learning about adaptive sports would be really helpful in achieving my career goals. I want to be an occupational therapist and adaptive sports are a large part of that profession.” When talking to Maddy Young about the challenges of the course, she said, “Some challenges I have faced are learning to not be as competitive for the enjoyment of others.” Lastly, I asked what was the biggest surprise while taking the course. “I was surprised at how different the adaptive sport can be from the way that I’ve always played,” said Morgan King. “I love seeing how different everyone is, and that one way of doing something for somebody may be hard, but that same way for someone else may make things so much easier for them.”
If you are a student at the University of Tennessee and are interested in taking this course or want to find out more information, talk to Dr. Scott or Nick Giecek to see how you can get involved!