By Alex Byington

Fort Hood Herald

The ability to run fast or jump high doesn't necessarily make someone a great basketball player.

Sometimes there are other measures of a good athlete - like heart.

With the help of a new program, Janelle Casson is trying to show just that.

"Just to see how to progress within sports, and to see that you can overcome whatever obstacles put in your way," Casson said - even if that obstacle is not having the use of your legs.

Seeking to improve awareness and understanding of paraplegic athletes, Fort Hood's Child Youth and School Services Department within Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, is hosting a three-part U.S. Paralympic Showcase running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 25 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center.

"We just wanted to expose the kids to say, 'Hey, you can reach for the stars,' and continue to move on and it can start here at Fort Hood," said Casson, director for Youth Sports and Fitness on post.

The event was organized to showcase the talent and skill of athletes with adaptive needs.

The day will begin with a two-hour wheelchair basketball clinic for paraplegic children 13 years or older, put on by coaches and players from the University of Texas-Arlington wheelchair basketball team - called the Movin' Mavs.

"The athletes coming down from UTA are all college students," Casson said. "They've been through college life; they've done the sports thing, so eventually we'd like all our kids that participate in adaptive events to get to that level."

After an hour lunch break from noon to 1 p.m., the Movin' Mavs will scrimmage a team from Brooke Army Medical Center's Center for the Intrepid until about 3 p.m. before U.S. Paralympics will put on an instructional showcase in which children and parents will be given a hands-on experience so they may better understand adaptive sports.

Casson said she is working directly with the Warrior Transition Brigade command in order to include soldiers and combat veterans who have experienced such losses as to better promote the cause.

"We have athletes with all different kind of abilities, skills and ages, so we wanted to bring exposure to the adaptive sports," Casson said.

For more information, contact Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at (254) 288-3770. Registration is now open for the morning clinic, but Casson said they'd likely still be taking registrations up until that morning if necessary.

Contact Alex Byington at or at (254) 501-7566.

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