December 6, 2013 Leave a comment
As part of a lifelong goal to help and serve individuals who use wheelchairs, UroMed Founder Bert Burns has accepted a charitable role on the Board of Directors for the national youth sports organization, BlazeSports America.
BlazeSports America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was born out of the legacy of the 1996 Paralympic Games held in Atlanta, GA. These games, the first held on American soil, were the realization of the dreams of thousands of Americans involved in the growth and promotion of sports for persons with physical disabilities in the United States.
BlazeSports America’s mission is to change the lives of children and adults with physical disabilities through sport. Headquartered in Decatur, GA, the local chapter of BlazeSports serves approximately 5,000 youth, adults and veterans with and without a physical disability in Georgia each year. Nationwide, over 13,000 youth and adults with a disability have been served by BlazeSports programs.
“When I was first injured, my Recreation Therapist introduced me to someone that had been injured for some time and was already involved in wheelchair sports. That person didn’t know it at the time, but he changed my life. I’m hoping that being involved with BlazeSports, I’ll be able to have that same opportunity to help someone else find a new life after spinal cord injury,” Burns explained.
History of BlazeSports America
Seeking to develop a national program of community-based adaptive sports for children and adults with physical disabilities, the Atlanta Paralympic Organizing Committee established the United States Disabled Athletes Fund in 1993. In partnership with the Georgia Recreation and Park Association and its member agencies, the USDAF rolled out a model program called BlazeSports Georgia in 1998.
The program, named BlazeSports Georgia after the wildly popular Atlanta Paralympic Games’ mascot Blaze, quickly evolved into a comprehensive plan providing year-round local programs delivered by the community recreation provider; state-level sport camps, clinics, junior teams and competitions delivered by BlazeSports Georgia; and state and regional competitions sponsored by USDAF and other partnering organizations.
In 2002, USDAF launched a national program, BlazeSports America, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association. Today BlazeSports America provides direct service in Georgia and nationally and internationally in developing countries. BlazeSports is also affiliated with local BlazeSports teams/programs in more than 60 communities and 29 states and the District of Columbia.
BlazeSports America is recognized by the United States Olympic Committee serving on its Multi-Sport Organizational Council and serves as the National Coordinating Body for competitive sports for individuals with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and survivors of stroke. BlazeSports is also is the national member organization of the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association. CPISRA is a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee.
BlazeSports is led by a multi and interdisciplinary staff and board representing the fields of disability sport, therapeutic recreation, physical education, sport psychology, sports science, nutrition, health promotion, and public health. Its programs are guided by the following goals:
- To provide sport, recreation and physical activity opportunities for people with physical disability in sport comparable to those provided non-disabled, nationally and internationally.
- To foster character development, productive lives, healthy lifestyles and self-sufficiency for people with physical disability through sport.
- To use cutting-edge training, distance learning opportunities, and fresh ideas as a vehicle to build the capacity of local service providers.
- To build positive perceptions of people with physical disability.
- To promote peace building, human rights and equity through sport.
BlazeSports Programs for Disabled Athletes
From skiing to basketball and everything in between, BlazeSports America has a sport that’s perfect for you. They provide athletes with training, support and the opportunity to increase independence and improve health. Whether you’re a competitive athlete or just want to learn a new sport, see what BlazeSports has to offer. Athletic programs include:
If you are interested in getting started in a sport, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Bert Burns
Bert Burns is renowned throughout the healthcare field as the founder of UroMed, an industry-leading catheter supply company that assists thousands of people nationwide with various physical disabilities. Bert founded UroMed more than 15 years ago to help serve people with needs similar to his own with disposable catheters, urological and continence care medical supplies.
When Bert was in his 20s he suffered a life-changing injury after being thrown from his car during an accident. Facing the future as a quadriplegic however was not the end but the just the beginning for Bert. His injury was a blessing in disguise and enabled him to realize dreams that he never would have had before being injured. Founding UroMed was one of those dreams along with meeting his wife, Joy, in 1995, with whom he raises two children. “Having Joy and our twins, William and Emma, makes me the luckiest guy in the world,” Burns says. “I truly have an amazing life.”
Bert’s path to success however started with one person, a recreation therapist during his rehabilitation, and introduced him to wheelchair sports. Reluctantly he gave it a try and ended up competing as a wheelchair athlete on a global scale for 15 years, winning numerous international events including a gold medal at the 1992 Paralympics.
His work now primarily centers around UroMed’s non-profit, educational program called Life After Spinal Cord Injury (LASCI), a motivational program that takes place in rehabilitation hospitals and other locations to positively influence youth and adults who have recently learned they will be using a wheelchair. LASCI has more than 23,000 members worldwide.
As a trained Recreation Therapist, Bert has committed not only his time to guiding and developing BlazeSports outreach programs, but he has reached out to support the organization financially as well. UroMed, the urology supply company that Bert created to serve wheelchair users nationwide, donated $10,000 earlier in the year to fund ongoing BlazeSports initiatives. Learn more about UroMed’s community giving program here.
Connect with BlazeSports
For more information on BlazeSports programs in your community, please visit www.blazesports.org or contact Mara Galic or Jeff Jones at 404.270.2000 or email at MGalic@blazesports.org or email@example.com.