44% of Team USA Supported by Challenged Athletes Foundation
San Diego, California — September 23, 2016 – The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) celebrates the athletic performance and the power of the human spirit that was showcased during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Thousands of individuals with physical challenges gathered in Brazil to compete on the world’s greatest athletic stage. CAF is honored to have supported 44%, or approximately 124 members of Team USA.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation is a non-profit that supports physically challenged individuals with financial grants for adaptive sport equipment like a running prosthetic or sport wheelchairs, as well as training and competition expenses, and mentoring.
It is the mission of CAF to provide opportunities and support to individuals with physical challenges, so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes that involvement in sport at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.
At the young age of 8-years-old, an aspiring Paralympian, Rudy Garcia-Tolsen, was introduced to CAF and participated in the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. After receiving numerous grants from CAF, and through his passion and determination, he reached his goal of being a Paralympian. 20 years later, Rudy just returned from his fourth Paralympic Games where he continued to prove that he has no limits and won a Silver Medal in Swimming.
In addition to helping current elite-level athletes, CAF has a strong focus on youth development to help build the next generation of Paralympic athletes. 38% of National Junior Disability Championship participants have received funding from CAF. Plus, 24% of 2016 CAF grant recipients were distributed to youth adaptive athletes.
Some of the exceptional performances by Team CAF athletes include the USA medal sweep by the women in Paratriathlon PT2 sport class featuring Allysa Seely (Gold), Hailey Danisewicz (Silver) and Melissa Stockwell (Bronze). In 2013 CAF launched the CAF Elite Paratriathlon Team in effort to help train and provide comprehensive support for challenged athletes in the sport’s debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Four members of the CAF Elite Paratriathlon Team earned spots to go to Rio including Mark Barr (PT2), Patricia Collins (PT4), Chris Hammer (PT4) and Patricia Walsh (PT5).
Other notable performances by Team CAF athletes include:
- Gold Medal – Women Sitting Volleyball Team, which included Team CAF athletes Katie Holloway and Nichole Millage, plus CAF Programs Manager, Patrick Lawrence, who is the Athletic Trainer for the team.
- Gold, Silver (2), and Bronze Medals – Swimming, Roy Perkins Jr.
- Gold (2), Silver, and Bronze Medals – Swimming, Michelle Konkoly
- Gold (2), Silver Medals – Track and Field, Raymond Martin
- Gold and Silver Medals – Cycling, Jamie Whitmore
- Silver Medal – Wheelchair Rugby Team (8 members of Team USA)
- Bronze Medal – Judo, Dartanyon Crockett
- Silver and Bronze Medals – Cycling Road, Oz Sanchez
- Silver and Bronze Medal – Wheelchair Tennis, David Wagner
“We couldn’t be more proud of the achievements of all the Team CAF athletes who competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” said CAF Co-Founder Bob Babbitt. “Witnessing the action in person was an incredible experience for me. We look forward to continuing our support of challenged athletes around the world who prove every single day that there are no limits.”
About the Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $76 million has been raised and over 13,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles To learn more, visit challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.