Since 2010, Karalyn Stott has served Move United to help its local chapters grow athletic opportunities for athletes with disabilities, including the recent development of the USA Wheelchair Football League (USAWFL).
Stott worked her way through the ranks of the organization and found herself at a crossroads. It was then that she decided to get involved with the USAWFL after realizing that football, while an exciting sport that many people love to play and watch, largely wasn’t an option for athletes with disabilities.
While its inaugural season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Move United will launch the USAFWFL this fall with nine teams instead of the original four. Stott believes that wheelchair football has made an immediate impact in the lives of its athletes.
“It is giving these athletes a chance,” said Stott. “We have been encouraged by USA Football embracing this adaptive sport and showing its coaches and leagues this is an opportunity. USA Football has been awesome in just embracing our sport and saying we want to get involved in this as well and we want to make sure that this opportunity is available.”
While the pandemic was difficult for all, Stott and Move United were able to increase the league’s reach with the time they had, working on logistics, recruiting more athletes and facilities, as well as expanding the league as a whole. With this expansion, more than 300 athletes will now be able to participate in the USAWFL’s first season. And what should people expect? It’s all the excitement of football played by amazing athletes. For starters, most USAWFL players are able to take that elite NFL Combine 4.4 40-yard dash time and blow it out of the water, clocking in under 4 seconds flat!
“A lot of our sport is getting people in chairs and teaching them the rules of the game,” said Stott. “The more people we teach to play and do so safely, the better off we will be. Every athlete who wants to play this sport can, and we are dedicated to working on revamping our coaching curriculum and officials training. The NFL, The Bob Woodruff Foundation and USA Football have all been really helpful in providing guidance and funding.”
Stott and Move United continue to prepare for the upcoming season and are looking forward to growing the sport and providing opportunities for as many athletes as possible.
“Our goal is to see the sport grow and thrive internationally and nationally,” said Stott. We want to highlight our athletes and show that adaptive sports are a high level of competition as well.”
With Stott at the helm and many dedicated individuals working with her, USAWFL is destined for success.
For more information about USAWFL visit: www.moveunitedsport.org/wheelchair-football/
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