Sends Six to 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on September 03, 2008

RIC Sends Six to 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the #1 rehabilitation hospital in the country, today announced it has sent three athletes to Beijing to compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games demonstrating RIC’s vision of enhanced human ability through innovative rehabilitation care and scientific discovery.

Paul Moran will compete in men's singles tennis at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing

Paul Moran will compete in men's singles
tennis at the 2008 Paralympic Games in

Athletes Paul Moran, Greta Neimanas and Becca Murray will be competing respectively in tennis, cycling and basketball at the Paralympic Games which will run Sept. 6-17. Additionally, Mitch Car, director of fitness, sport and recreation at RIC, has been selected to be a representative of RIC and a delegate by the 2016 Paralympic Advisory Committee. He will be accompanied by two of RIC’s Caring for Kids members who have also been selected to attend as part of the U.S. Paralympic Academy which provides the opportunity to experience the Games to kids with disabilities.

“RIC is elated for its three athletes, Greta, Paul and Becca, who through their hard work and dedication, demonstrate great ability and competitive advantage,” said Joanne C. Smith, MD, president and CEO, RIC. “Both Chicago and RIC will be well-represented on the international stage with these capable individuals." 

RIC’S Athletes

Paul Moran, 41, will compete in men’s singles tennis, where he is ranked third in the United States and 44th in the world. This is Moran’s fifth Paralympic games, but his first time competing in a Paralympic tennis competition. He has attended and medaled in past Paralympic games but participated in sit volleyball, where he was a part of the men’s US Paralympic Sit Volleyball team.

Paul lost his leg and two fingers in a trolley accident in college and was a patient of RIC’s where he relearned the basics after his amputation. He has participated in disabled sports at RIC for more than 20 years.

Greta Neimanas, 20, came to RIC as a young girl and participated in RIC’s Caring For Kids program, which offers year-round adaptive sports, recreation, special events and social activities for youth ages 7-17 with a physical disability. After winning an essay contest for US Paralympic Academy for Kids in 2004, Neimanas was awarded a trip to the Paralympic Games in Athens , Greece . She was so inspired by seeing the Games, Neimanas began cycling as soon as she returned to the states and trains at the US Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs . She will be competing in the 500 and 1000 meter competitions.

Becca Murray,20, a Wisconsin native has been a member of the RIC Sky Women’s Basketball Team for the past several years. She was selected to play on the women’s US Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball team and will join the team in Beijing for the games.

U.S. Paralympic Academy

Sara Koehnke, 18, from Highland Park, Illinois, and Joel Adams, 16, from Country Club Hills, Illinois, have been selected to attend this year’s 2008 International Paralympic Academy from September 5-11 in Beijing. They are two of 25 kids with disabilities that wrote essays on how sports have impacted their lives and were selected for the program. This is the same program that Neimanas participated in Athens in 2004, offering the opportunity to attend Paralympic ceremonies and competitions and meet US Paralympic team members.

Carr will attend on behalf of the 2016 Paralympic Advisory Committee aimed at spreading the Olympic and Paralympic message from the United States while in Beijing and seeking ways to enhance the committee’s goals from being behind-the-scenes. 

“As a representative of RIC and the 2016 Paralympic Advisory Committee, I hope to bring a strong presence from Chicago on the community level in the hopes of strengthening our chances of adopting the bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Chicago,” says Carr. “RIC has been a catalyst for supporting and sending more than 50 athletes to Paralympic Games.”

RIC has been a leader in adaptive and disability sports and recreation for more than 20 years. The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Sports Program was established in 1982 and is supported today through philanthropic efforts from many local corporations. In addition to this program, which offers more than 20 complimentary adaptive sports and recreation opportunities for people with disabilities. RIC’s Helen M. Galvin Health and Fitness Center is a fully-adaptive recreation center offering equipment and classes for people with disabilities to develop their physical potential. RIC’s programs have helped 54 athletes become involved in past and present Paralympic Games.

The 2008 Paralympic Games will air on ABC network channels ABC 1 and ABC2.

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation’s leading provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world. Founded in 1953, RIC has been designated the “No. 1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer. The AbilityLab — RIC’s new, state-of-the-art research hospital, will open in March 2017. 

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