Josh pushing his racing wheelchair over the finish line on the blue track at Drake University

The Gift of Sports Given by Variety – the Children’s Charity

His freshman year at Washington High School, Josh Anderson decided he wanted to participate in track and field. Josh uses crutches as a mobility device in his everyday life, so his track coaches started talking to him about possibilities. They knew of another student at a school nearby that competed in wheelchair track events. After some research, Josh and his coaches discovered Adaptive Sports Iowa.

Adaptive Sports Iowa (ASI) provides sports and recreation opportunities for people with physical disabilities. ASI’s Track & Field program consists of a lending library of adaptive equipment so every student with a physical disability can have the opportunity to compete for their school track and field team at no cost to the student or the family. With the help of Variety – the Children’s Charity, Adaptive Sports Iowa is able to purchase the racing wheelchair and field event chairs for each student who is interested in competing. 

Josh received a racing wheelchair fit to his body measurements and competed on his track and field team for the first time in 2023. He even won a silver medal in the 100m at the state track meet! Now as a sophomore, Josh says, “I plan on attending college after high school. I also want to take adaptive sports to the collegiate level. Ever since I participated in this program, I have enjoyed every part of it.” 

Thanks to his track coaches, Adaptive Sports Iowa and Variety – the Children’s Charity, track has become an important part of Josh’s life. Having the opportunity to compete in this sport has impacted him personally, physically and especially mentally, he says. “I have met a lot of people who support what I do even though they don’t have disabilities.” At first, learning how to use the racing wheelchair can be difficult, but Josh’s coaches were there for him every step of the way to encourage him and help him to see the progress he was making at every practice. 

Josh is full of gratitude for all the opportunities that were opened up for him through receiving the adaptive sports equipment, and in response, he wants to encourage other students with physical disabilities to try it for themselves. Get involved, try something new and you never know what friendships or skills you might gain from the experience!