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Press Release

Sportable Receives $75,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to Fund I Am An Athlete Program

What: Sportable was recently awarded a $75,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to fund I Am an Athlete Program.

Sportable empowers individuals with physical disabilities both to enhance their overall fitness and health and to improve their quality of life. We connect these Richmond area athletes to 13 different adaptive sports programs year-round including tennis, soccer, basketball, track and field, rowing, and swimming. We also provide them with the necessary adaptive gear that may be cost prohibitive otherwise. Our I Am an Athlete Program is designed to increase Athletic Opportunities for Adults and Children with Physical Disabilities in the Metropolitan Richmond Area.

Sportable offered 3,690 program hours in 2012 and racked up 1,594 athlete experiences. We are on track to almost double the number of “unique” athletes we serve in 2013 and with the support of Anthem, we will track all of our athletes’ improvements in specific sports by administering pre and post assessments that will test overall physical fitness improvements as well as provide physiological benefits of participation in sport programs, both recreational and competitive. “Sportable is extremely excited to have the opportunity to partner with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation as we seek to expand our reach in the Greater Richmond community—creating even more opportunities and transforming the lives of a segment of the population that too often is left on the sidelines”, said Sportable Executive Director Kristen Lessig.

“Anthem is committed to helping Virginians live a healthy lifestyle. By investing in programs like the I Am An Athlete Program, people with physical and visual disabilities can also be included and enjoy the same benefits as others,” said Jay Schukman, M.D., Anthem’s chief medical director.”

When: At 2 p.m. Sunday, March 17 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center, Sportable will celebrate this grant award. Sportable has partnered with VCU’s Center for Sports Leadership to host a Paralympic Experience Day…offering an opportunity for individuals to trial various adaptive sports offered year round.

Where: Virginia Commonwealth University Siegel Center 1200 W Broad St Richmond, VA 23284

Facts about Sportable

  • We have been helping people with physical disabilities lead an active, health lifestyle since 2005.
  • We provide the opportunity, the skilled instruction, and the specialized equipment for 14 year round sport programs. We also partner with over 25 organizations in the Greater Richmond community to ensure accessibility facilities for all our programs.
  • During the last year we have helped over 100 athletes with physical and visual disabilities experience the benefits of sport.
  • Many of our athletes compete locally, regionally, and nationally in their sports—some even have a goal of participating in the Paralympics in the future.
  • It’s not just the athletes that are benefiting from our programs, it’s their families too.
  • To learn more about what we do, visit our website: www.sportable.org

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Contact: Mary Catherine Taylor
Office: 804-340-2991
Email: marycatherine@sportable.org

Talking Points about Sportable

  • Since May 2005, Sportable has filled a previously unmet need in our community of creating opportunities for individuals aged 5 and up with physical and visual disabilities to participate in sport.
  • Our athletes come together to participate in 14 different adaptive sports programs year-round, including tennis, soccer, basketball, track and field, rowing, and swimming.
  • We also provide athletes with the necessary adaptive equipment, often cost prohibitive for individuals, as well as partner with over 25 organizations locally.
  • As one of only 185 US Paralympic Sport Clubs across the country, we also have access to a large network of resources for our athletes.
  • In Strength and Conditioning – At 60 years old, a Vietnam veteran, who is a double leg amputee, used this program to return to competitive wheelchair tennis after a 10-year hiatus. After 12 weeks, he doubled the number of push-ups he can do, and he has both returned to competitions and begun mentoring new wheelchair tennis players.
  • Over the last three years, we have increased from 1097 athlete experiences with 89 unique athletes and a total of 2209 program hours in 2011 to 1594 athlete experiences with 157 unique athletes and a total of 3690 program hours in the first half of 2013. In addition, we visited 8 schools last year and reached 700 students with our Changing Perceptions through Schools Pilot Program.
  • To interview one of our athletes or staff please call 804-340-2991