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Students/Faculty News Stephen Lanzi June 29, 2022

The World Games 2022, an international multi-sport event organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee, will hold its 11th edition in Birmingham from July 7-17, 2022. And thanks to the Disability Inclusion Program, this will be the first edition of TWG – or any international multi-sport event – to include an adaptive sport.

The world is coming to UAB. “Through the leadership of the Lakeshore Foundation and support of Drummond Company Inc., The World Games 2022 is creating a legacy for accessibility and inclusivity of The Games and future Birmingham area events,” the games said on its site.

In addition to initiatives to increase accessibility for fans, the program is introducing low-point wheelchair rugby. Wheelchair rugby ranks players on a point scale of functional mobility range., and low point, a new sport, restricts the amount of “points” a team can collectively have from its players on the court.

The low point wheelchair rugby event will be held from July 14-17 at the Birmingham Crossplex. Team USA will compete against teams from Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and Canada.

Noah Galloway, Birmingham native and formerly featured on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine, was named honorary co-chair of TWG and spokesperson of the Disability Inclusion Program.

Galloway enlisted in the United States Army following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He was severely injured during an IED attack which led to Galloway losing his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee. After returning from deployment, Galloway began a career as a motivational speaker and, most recently, advocate for The World Games 2022 Inclusion initiative.

“People are going to see it and see how enjoyable it is,” Galloway said. “I think, in turn, any of these sports they do with athletes considered disabled are going to grow in popularity and gain fans.”

“I think it’s so exciting for people to see the athletic side of people with disabilities,” he added.

The Initiative for Disability Inclusion and Access will focus on making The Games more inclusive of adapted sports, athletes, fans, and experiences for people with a disability through several initiatives:

  1. Establishing a diverse and representative steering committee
  2. Creating an inclusive and accessible athlete experience
  3. Enhancing accessibility and inclusion for fans
  4. Developing a training and education program for staff, volunteers, and partners

The Initiative’s mission is for The Games to be inclusive and accessible for all by establishing a legacy for disability inclusion in multi-sport events.

“Our goal for this program is to make The World Games 2022 a welcoming, accessible and inclusive event for all,” said Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022. “But beyond that, we also want to create a legacy for accessibility and disability inclusivity for Birmingham and future editions of The World Games, one that will last far beyond 2022.”

Throughout the games, UAB will host various activities at The World Games Plaza, located in City Walk near Protective Stadium. On Sunday, July 10, the School of Health Professions will feature accessible video games, which the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative are on the forefront of development.

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