TUCSON (KVOA) - Over a dozen past, present and future University of Arizona Athletes are taking pride in representing their country in the Paralympic Games. That list includes UArizona wheelchair tennis head coach Brayn Barten.
He's set to take part in his third Paralympic Game in tennis. Barten said he takes pride in being a role model to others who are stricken to a wheelchair.
"Somebody that maybe sees me play tennis with my disability, it might encourage them to try it themselves," said Barten. "Sports are so important for our mental well-being."
Barten will represent Team USA in Wheelchair tennis as an athlete with lots of experience. He also took part in the 2012 games in London and the 2016 Rio games.
"Everybody has a unique situation," said Barten, as he talked about some of the difficulties dealing with playing tennis on a wheelchair, "My grip is very weak, so I tape the racquet to my hand, so I'm stuck in one grip, so that's a challenge right in the beginning. Moving the chair, the mobility, is very strategic, so, having the strength to move the chair in a strong way [is important]. You can't just move in, if somebody hits the high ball over you then the points over, so I have to move in, recover, and then hit the ball back."
Here's a list of UArizona athletes and their involvement in the Paralympic Games:
Women’s Wheelchair basketball Team USA
- Darlene Hunter (Co-Team Captain) third Paralympics Won Gold in 2016
- Natalie Schneider (Co-Team Captain) fourth Paralympics Won Gold in 2008 and 2016
- Josie Aslakson (New University of Arizona women’s basketball head coach, graduated last semester) first time Paralympian
- Courtney Ryan (Assistant Coach University of Arizona women’s basketball (graduated 2015) first time Paralympian
- David Wagner five-time Paralympian. Two bronzes, three silvers and three golds
- Bryan Barten three-time Paralympian (Head Coach of University of Arizona wheelchair tennis program)
- Dana Mathewson two-time Paralympian (Graduated University of Arizona)
- Kaitlyn Verfeurth four-time Paralympian, tennis first three times. This time she is going as a rower who graduated from UArizona in 2013)
Wheelchair Rugby (reminder that our wheelchair rugby team is the current two-time defending national champion!)
- Chuck Aoki third-time Paralympian winner of Bronze (2012) winner of Silver (2016)
- Chad Cohn third-time Paralympian winner of Bronze (2012) winner of Silver (2016) (current head coach of University of Arizona wheelchair rugby program)
- Lee Fredette two-time Paralympian winner of Silvers 2016
- Josh Wheeler two-time Paralympian winner of Silver 2016 (Full-time students at the University of Arizona)
- Daisuke Ikezaki two-time Paralympian Winner of Bronze 2016 (Team Japan)