Cheer on GLASA Wheelchair Football Team at tourney
Wheelchair football athletes from across the country will compete in Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association's home tournament Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19 and 20, at College of Lake County in Grayslake.
2023 marks the third year of USA Wheelchair Football League tournament play. The USAWFL is a program of Move United, which is made possible, in part, by NFL-BWF Salute to Service "Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community" funding, as well as local team support by the Chicago Bears.
Tournament competition will kick off with two fields running concurrently from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, then from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, in Parking Lot 8 at the College of Lake County. A champion will be crowned Sunday afternoon following the final matchup at 2 p.m.
Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association provides more than 20 adaptive and Paralympic sports year-round, including both the GLASA Chicago Bears Wheelchair Football competitive team and recreational wheelchair football.
The GLASA Chicago Bears were part of the original four teams when the league started in 2019, also including teams in Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Arizona. Dave Michael, Mak Nong, and Jeff Yackley serve as the captains of the GLASA Chicago Bears, who are led by head coach and GLASA Board President Jason Sfire.
"When I was introduced to GLASA, they opened my world up to adaptive sports. I fell in love with the sports and have participated ever since. I am fortunate to be one of the captains of the GLASA Chicago Bears Wheelchair Football Team. It is such an honor to be a part of a growing and developing program," said Dave Michael, a member of the GLASA Chicago Bears Wheelchair Football Team, Sled Hockey Team and GLASA strength and conditioning coach.
Michael's on-demand adaptive workouts support athletes with disabilities nationwide in their efforts to improve their health and wellness.
In addition to supporting the USAWFL's competitive teams, the grant from the NFL-BWF Salute to Service partnership and Move United provides opportunities for grass-roots growth of the sport through coaching education, officials training and learn-to-play clinics.
As a result, GLASA is able to host clinics in wheelchair football throughout the year, most recently at the GLASA Great Lakes Games in Lake Forest, in partnership with the Chicago Bears, including Bears alumni and staff and Staley Da Bear, who took part in the clinic and skills competition geared toward getting individuals out to try this growing sport.
"We are excited as an organization to be entering our third full season by hosting this tournament," Sfire said.
"These tournaments give our athletes the opportunity to put wheelchair football on display for the whole city to see. With the support of Move United, the NFL and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, we have the privilege to feature these adaptive athletes on a larger platform."
The tournament is seeking volunteer support for set up on Aug. 18 and games on Aug. 19 and 20. Volunteer opportunities are available to sign up online at moveunitedsport.org.
Youth football organizations, nonprofits and local community groups are invited to come out to a game to support the athletes and teams as spectators, especially the tournament's home team.
For more information, contact Kelly Candotti Habas at Kelly@GLASA.org.
For information about Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, visit GLASA.org.
For information about the USA Wheelchair Football League, visit usawfl.org.
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