UroMed Founder Bert Burns Joins BlazeSports America’s Board of Directors

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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.

Bert Burns

Bert Burns

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.

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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.

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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.
Nationwide, over 13,000 youth and adults with a disability have been served by BlazeSports programs.

Nationwide, over 13,000 youth and adults with a disability have been served by BlazeSports programs.

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:

Alpine   Skiing Football   7-a-side Table   Tennis
Archery Goalball Volleyball   (Sitting)
Athletics (Track & Field) Ice   Sledge Hockey Wheelchair   Basketball
Biathalon Judo Wheelchair   Curling
Boccia Powerlifting Wheelchair Dance Sport
Cross-Country   Skiing Rowing Wheelchair   Fencing
Cycling Sailing Wheelchair   Rugby
Equestrian Shooting Wheelchair   Tennis
Football   5-a-side Swimming

If you are interested in getting started in a sport, please email info@blazesports.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.

As a father of twins, Bert has a special place in his heart for helping children.

As a father of twins, Bert has a special place in his heart for helping children.

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 Burns racing at the 1992 Paralympics.

Bert Burns racing at the 1992 Paralympics.

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 jjones@blazesports.org.

 

LASCI Joins Rolling Inspiration On The Soccer Field And Beyond

This weekend, LASCI headed south to sunny San Antonio, Texas, teaming up with our friends at Rolling Inspiration to join their members on an outting to Morgan’s Wonderland and an all-star event at the San Antonio Scorpions professional soccer team!

Bert and the kids from Rolling Inspiration take Morgan's Wonderland by storm!

Bert and the kids from Rolling Inspiration take Morgan’s Wonderland by storm!

Founded by quadriplegic Christopher Salas, Rolling Inspiration began 2010 with only 4 members and has blossomed to over 30 members.  Their mission is to get people to stop existing and start living. Rolling Inspiration was recently honored as the 2012- 2013 organization of the year by the United Way and is a grant recipient from the National Spinal Cord Injury Association.

Morgan’s Wonderland was the perfect place for a Rolling Inspiration event as it is the world’s first ultra-accessible, wheelchair-accessible, family fun park, encompassing 25 acres of rides, playgrounds, gardens, an eight-acre catch-and-release fishing lake, a picnic area and rest areas! Located in San Antonio, Texas, Morgan’s Wonderland was built in the true spirit of inclusion to provide a place where all ages and abilities can come together and play in a fun and safe environment.  [For more information on Morgan’s Wonderland, visit www.MorgansWonderland.com.]

As the participants played on the rides and explored the park, the group took a break to enjoy pizza under a pavilion while LASCI founder Bert Burns shared his personal story of triumph over spinal cord injury as a motivational program for Rolling Inspiration members.  Attendees asked Bert about his life after rehabilitation, being married with kids and what he does today as a public speaker for LASCI.

[L to R]: aParalympian Saul Mendoza, Rolling Inspiration founder Chris Salas and LASCI founder Bert Burns enjoy the San Antonio Scorpions soccer game.

[L to R]: aParalympian Saul Mendoza, Rolling Inspiration founder Chris Salas and LASCI founder Bert Burns enjoy the San Antonio Scorpions soccer game.

Then it was time to head over to the soccer field where the San Antonio Scorpions hosted their final home match of the 2013 NASL season, welcoming the New York Cosmos to the new stadium for the first time ever.  Legendary Paralympian Saul Mendoza joined the Rolling Inspiration party to watch the game.

During halftime at the soccer match, the Scorpions took the field with a special announcement.  Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman took the field along with his daughter Morgan, and Scorpions staff and players. Hartman announced to the fans that Soccer for a Cause, in only its second year, had raised $662,559 for Morgan’s Wonderland and the special needs community.

We were honored to take part in this weekend’s event with Rolling Inspiration and are grateful for all that this organization is doing for people who use wheelchairs in the San Antonio area.

About Rolling Inspiration
Rolling Inspiration’s peer support group meets at the Presa Community Center and Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital in San Antonio, TX on a monthly basis. The group provides an upbeat place for individuals with spinal cord injuries and their caregivers to connect with other people who have experienced the same life-changing injury. Learn more at: http://www.rolling-inspiration.org/

About Life After Spinal Cord Injury
Bert Burns became quadriplegic as a result of an automobile accident during his youth. His desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities led him to create a free motivational program for peer support and rehabilitation groups called Life After Spinal Cord Injury. LASCI is sponsored by UroMed, [ http://www.uromed.com ] one of the largest urological supply companies in the country.  Join more than 22,000 friends in our Facebook support community at: http://www.facebook.com/LASCIonline

About UroMed Community Giving
UroMed is honored to support numerous charities nationwide in the communities that we serve. The company focuses its community efforts on three primary areas:

  • Condition-related associations that focus on education, awareness and support
  • Sports programs for the disabled
  • Leadership and motivational programs for disabled youth

Additionally, many of our employees volunteer their time and efforts at various community events. Many of our employees have a personal connection to the following non-profit organizations, as 20% of our customer care associates either has a disability or has a family member with a disabling condition.

Please contact us at 1-800-841-1233 or visit www.uromed.com  if you would like to invite UroMed to sponsor your organization or event.

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