San Marcos hosts dozens of athletes for Extremity Games

More than 80 athletes competed June 23 in the Extremity Games at the Texas Ski Ranch in San Marcos.

Though the athletes in the annual games compete in several sports, they all share something in common—limb loss or limb difference.

"It's a competition, but it's a celebration as well," said athlete Brandon Holiday, an Extremity Games committee member.

Started by the Athletes with Disabilities Network seven years ago, the games include one day of clinics and a second day of competitions and exhibitions.

The event brings amputee athletes from throughout the United States and other nations together to compete and to meet and learn from others who have similar experiences.

While military participants are a recent additions to the games, they now make up half the competitors.

"There's a need in certain areas for programs that get veterans into an active lifestyle, which is a goal of the ADN," Holiday said.

The event features competitions and clinics for skateboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, wakeboarding, kayaking, martial arts and powerlifting.

The clinics allow participation not only from families, but also from service members who do not necessarily meet the qualifications to participate in larger competitions.

Wakeboarding participants can also use the Extremity Games to qualify for the World Wakeboard Association National Championships.

Wendy Gumbert, a representative for Texas Regional Paralympic Sport, said the organization acts as a resource for disabled athletes to find adaptive sports opportunities in Texas.

"We're almost like a marketing [tool] for everyone that's doing adaptive sports," Gumbert said.

To raise awareness for ADN as well as the Extremity Games, Holiday and other mentor athletes travel throughout the United States hosting clinics.

"We have athletes all over the country, and a lot of us do clinics and everything else to promote the growth of the Athletes with Disabilities Network," Holiday said. "So the hope is to start an emerging program where we're educating people, getting some people back into an active lifestyle, but also fostering potential athletes."

Holiday said the support from the community is one of the keys to the event's success.

"If it wasn't for a lot of the community here, we wouldn't be able to pull of the Extremity Games," he said.



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