The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) is in the business of allowing disabled athletes to participate in any sport they wish. Here are the three major organizations that help make NSCD’s mission possible.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Sports Authority Field at Mile High is home to NSCD’s national headquarters, as well as the annual Denver Broncos Football Ability Clinic and the Back to Football 7K Run. Every summer, the NSCD teams up with the Denver Broncos to offer a Football Ability Clinic, where children with disabilities can work with professional athletes to develop their skills. This is a special event not only for all the NSCD athletes who come, but also for the instructors, volunteers and pro players who participate.
“Coming out here and interacting with kids, living their dreams of playing with Broncos or getting on Sports Authority Field actually on the grass, it’s special,” Broncos player David Bruton told 9NEWS.
“A little bit of our time means so much to them,” Ben Garland, another Bronco, added. “You see their faces light up, they get so excited and just for you to take that time for one individual means so much.”
The NSCD athletes at this clinic are an inspiration to all who work with them. Garland went on to say, “You come out here and you see what these people are pushing through, how they’re fighting, and you just feel blessed you are in that moment. Even if you’re tired, exhausted, pushing it, [these] people are overcoming so much more.”
Sports Authority Field at Mile High is also proud to host the annual Back to Football 7K Run, benefiting the NSCD. The run gives participants an exclusive view behind the scenes as they run through the beautiful Sloan’s Lake neighborhood and finish on the field’s 50-yard line after running through the same tunnel that the Broncos enter on game days. There’s also a free “fun run” for children under the age of 10, allowing young Broncos fans to run through the tunnel as well. Complete with a post-race party with live entertainment, food and beverages, this event is a great way to inspire community involvement with the NSCD.
Kroenke Sports Charities Nuggets and Rapids Ability Clinics
The NSCD is proud to partner with Kroenke Sports Charities for its annual Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rapids Ability Clinics. These interactive two-hour clinics are hosted at various Kroenke venues around the state and allow kids and adults with any disability to experience basketball and soccer for free. Along with meeting professional players from each of the respective teams, participants get to work right alongside the pros to develop their skills. They receive instruction in basic skills like dribbling, shooting and passing, but also have opportunities to play fun games, win prizes and meet and greet with team mascots. These ability clinics are special because they help NSCD athletes to focus on what they can do. Getting to play, learn and interact with the professional players helps to build their confidence and opens up their eyes to what they can achieve.
Snow Mountain Ranch Therapeutic Horse Back Riding
The therapeutic riding center at Snow Mountain Ranch was begun in the 1990s by M.M. Sutherland, a volunteer for YMCA of the Rockies who recognized the powerful impact horses can have on individuals with disabilities. Along with a handful of other volunteers, she worked with the resort’s director to build the therapeutic riding center.
When Sutherland passed away, NSCD took over the program, which now offers around 400 lessons each summer. The facility has steadily grown and now includes 12 horses, two arenas, a round pen, a sensory trail system and a pasture. Participants in the program learn horse feeding, grooming and tacking, resulting in a connection between horse and human that produces profound, life-enhancing benefits, including increased confidence, organizational skills, independence, self-responsibility and appropriate social and emotional behavior.
The therapeutic riding center operates from Memorial Day through the end of September, and the highlight of the summer is when the NSCD teams up with a fellow therapeutic recreation organization for the Adam’s Camp Adventure Camp. This week-long sleep-away program allows campers to enjoy activities such as zip lining, archery, river rafting, alpine slide rides, swimming, hiking, rock climbing and of course, horseback riding. The week also includes all the classic camp activities, from campfires to cabin games, and culminates in a camp-wide dance at the end of the week.
Kent Meyer, president and CEO of YMCA of the Rockies, attributes the success of the therapeutic riding program back to its founder.
“It was the enthusiasm of one of our senior volunteers, M.M. Sutherland, who worked hard from the beginning to create the center,” he said. “The program now honors [her] passion for working with those with disabilities, and we are proud to work with NSCD.”
The NSCD is proud to partner with these three organizations for its activities and programs. Working together, these organizations help to make every day an inspiration for disabled athletes.
By Stephanie Schmidt