Rio Paralympics - Athletes to watch!

Almost everyone knows about the Olympic Games, but not everyone knows about or understands what the Paralympic Games are.  The Paralympic Games begin in Rio de Janiero on September 7, with the opening ceremony just like the Olympic Games. 

Paralympic actually means “around” the Olympics and does not identify a specific disability type.  The Paralympic Games are held at a time around the time of each Olympic Games.  The 2016 Paralympic Games consist of 23 sports and over 4000 athletes from more than 170 countries are expected to attend.   Athletes compete against other athletes with similar disability levels.   New to the Paralympic Games this year is canoeing.

In the past, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at many sporting events for athletes with disabilities, including the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games.  I was privileged to see one of my best friends, Larry Hughes, win a gold medal in the discus and set a Paralympic record while I was working!   Although the hours were long (the athletic events were held in the morning and evening due to heat with practice sessions in the afternoons) I wouldn’t have traded the time spent working with such amazing athletes from all over the world.

In Rio this year, one of the athletes to watch is a young woman named Tatyana McFadden.  I have had the pleasure of watching her grow up as an athlete while competing in local wheelchair sports competitions.  Keep you eye on her in all of the women’s wheelchair events, from the 100m to the marathon! 

Another American to watch is Matt Stutzman, aka the “Armless Archer.”  In Judo, look for American Dartanyon Crockett to medal.  On the courts, look for the USA men’s wheelchair basketball to be a force to beat.  You can catch the action at and


* Photo Credit Larry Hughes, 1996 Paralympics Medal Winner

Pickleball Frenzy!

Pickleball is a sport played on a court one fourth the size of a tennis court using a paddle and whiffelball. This multi-generational game was invented sixty years ago by three dads and was played in a driveway. When a family member’s dog named “Pickle” kept stealing the ball, they appropriately named this game “pickleball.

Today pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Looking at numbers, the estimation is that by the year 2018, 18 million people in the United States will be playing pickleball. The governing agency of pickleball, the USA Pickleball Association, reports that over 200 new facilities are being added monthly. The appeal of this fast-paced game is multi-fold. Pickle ball is a quick study. One can be taught the rules, scoring, and stroke mechanics in less than an hour. Games are short- to eleven points. Rotating teams in and out of games means that you are getting a great workout while meeting new friends. Rallies last a longer time than tennis because the ball is a light sized whiffelball. Many seniors are attracted to pickleball because it is played on a small court and is low-impact. It does not require the kind of joint strain and vigorous bending that tennis does. Pickle ball is extremely aerobic and great for working on balance and agility.

In 2015 the USAPA integrated the sport of pickleball with the acceptance of wheelchair rules. In staying true to the mission of inclusion and accessibility, the sport was opened up to all permanent physical disabilities with the advent of Para-Pickleball.

Local venues for playing pickleball can be found by googling the USAPA and clicking on “where to play” or the interactive map. Also, this website lists local ambassadors that will help both newcomers and those from out of town find groups, lessons, and courts. In addition to recreational play, there are local, state, and national tournaments for those people who are competitive.


Guest Blogger: Barb Adams & Diane Easley
Ambassadors, Carlisle PA

Exercise can be done safely in summer heat and humidity

The key to keep yourself safe and avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke is to plan ahead.  Make sure you choose the cooler parts of the day in which to exercise - either early morning or evening, or stay inside an air conditioned building.  If you want or need to exercise outside, remember to dress appropriately, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.


Wearing sunscreen will protect you from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun and should be applied liberally.  Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun too. Clothing should be moisture-wicking and non-binding.  Lighter colors do not absorb as much heat as dark colors, nor are they as likely to attract ticks.


Proper hydration involves planning ahead and knowing your body.  Individuals with certain medical conditions such as hypotension, diabetes and cystic fibrosis require additional fluids.  You should drink water prior to your activity, during your activity and after you are finished, replenish the fluids lost through sweating .  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends you drink 16-20 ounces of water or sports beverage 4 hours before exercise and 8-12 ounces of water 10-15 minutes prior to your exercise session.  During exercise lasting less than an hour, drink 3-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes, and for exercising longer than an hour, drink 3-8 ounces of a sports beverage every 15-20 minutes.  The ACSM also recommends drinking no more than a quart of liquid per hour during exercise.  Following your exercise session, the ACSM recommends drinking 20-24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during the exercise session.  The weight loss should be replenished within 2 hours following the exercise.  Should your urine remain dark and/or urinate less frequently than every 3-5 hours, you are most likely dehydrated and should continue hydration.  Check out our prior blog on hydration for additional details.


We hope that this blog was informative. If you have any questions on this topic or any others in which you are interested, feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions. Thank you for reading and stay active.


References: .pdf


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