Recently, I had the opportunity to gain some insight about one of Niagara’s best athletic resources for individuals living with a physical disability that makes it difficult for them to participate in conventional sports.
Head Coach Jim Davis talks about the team below:
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your involvement with the Brock Niagara Penguins?
“I’m a 38 year old man I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I am heavily involved in the Niagara Community, I am the chairperson for the Niagara Centre for Independent Living as well as the chairperson for the Niagara Accessible Sports Committee. My involvement with the Brock Niagara Penguins began 11 years ago when my wife and I met Karen Natho, and were given the opportunity to try out wheelchair basketball I played on the team for many years and then decided to try my hand at coaching. I have been coaching the team now for about 4 years, I have also participated in the swim and Paralympic Boccia program that the Brock Niagara Penguins offers.”
Please tell us a little about the Brock Niagara Penguins and who is involved
“The Brock Niagara Penguins is a swim, Paralympic Boccia and wheelchair basketball team for youth and adults with physical disabilities. The Penguins was started by Karen Natho and ran by many dedicated volunteers. They have a website www.niagarapenguins.org.”
Are there restrictions on who can join the team?
“The Brock Niagara Penguins is a sport program for youth and adults with physical disabilities, they do have a code of conduct and eligibility criteria on their website.”
How long does the season run?
“The three Penguins’ programs run from September to end of March for more information please visit www.niagarapenguins.org.”
What have you seen as the biggest benefit to help coaching a team like the Brock Niagara Penguins wheelchair basketball team?
“I find being a part of the Penguins has been one of the most rewarding experiences so far in my life. I so enjoy helping kids and adults become active and learn that their disabilities shouldn’t stop them from being physically fit. Sport in general has made a huge difference in my life both physically and psychologically and I’m sure many other athletes feel the same way.”
Can people volunteer with the team if interested?
“Yes the Penguins is always looking for great energetic and dedicated volunteers again for more information please visit www.niagarapenguins.org and look for the “How you can help” tag. The program is predominately run by volunteers, and is only as strong as the volunteers involved!”
Is the team recreational, or do members need to try out?
“All the Penguins programs have a recreational division, we do offer opportunities to compete at higher levels. There is a large social component to the club.”
Are there any future plans to expand the Penguins to more sports?
“The Brock Niagara Penguins would love to expand into many sports unfortunately we do not have the capacity or current resources to do so at this time.”
…”The Brock Niagara Penguins would encourage anyone with a physical disability to come and try any of our three programs. We offer a free trial for all three of the sporting groups, swimming, boccia and wheelchair basketball.”