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Wheelchair Athletes

June 11, 2012 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors has made a momentous decision. The OHSAA has opted to add eight wheelchair championship final events – four for boys and four for girls – to the OHSAA State Track and Field Tournament beginning in 2013. Wheelchair athletes will compete in one boys' division and one girls' division. Events include the 100 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and shot put. Participants will wear their school uniforms and be awarded for individual honors, although they will not score points for their teams. The OHSAA is a frequent whipping boy from all corners for various reasons, legitimate or not. But in this instance, the commissioners deserve kudos for being compassionate pioneers. Only a handful of states allow wheelchair competition. It is time such competition becomes commonplace. The OHSAA's decision to make it a reality can only expedite more widespread embracing of wheelchair events. Moreover, allowing wheelchair athletes a chance for a berth in the state meet results in a better quality for those individuals. I give the OHSAA a gold medal for championing a worthwhile cause.


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