News

Mar 27, 2017

Eating Right: Goalball Athletes Share Their Tips During National Nutrition Month

 

Though eating right is something we should all strive toward every day, in the month of March, we pay particularly close attention to it, being that March is National Nutrition Month. For athletes at any level of competition, nutrition can be just as important as physical training sessions. We caught up with Nuwanee Kirihennedige, Sports Dietitian at the United States Olympic Committee, who works with the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Goalball Teams and other Team USA athletes to ask her about healthy eating habits and what tips she has whether you’re an aspiring Paralympian or just starting a workout regimen.

“We all know that proper nutrition is important for everyone for day-to-day bodily functions,” says Kirihennedige, “and it is especially true for athletes who are trying to push the limit and achieve high-level athletic performances. Just as fancy, high-performing cars need high-quality fuel, athletes should fuel their bodies with high-quality fuel – food!”

Kirihennedige gives three tips for eating right:

- Eat to train. Athletes should adjust their nutrition intake based on intensity and duration of exercise. The Athlete’s Plate is a good tool to use for allocating nutrients for training and goals. A good rule of thumb is the harder and longer you train, the more carbohydrates you will need; thus, the starch and grain part of the Athlete’s Plate increases as activity levels increase.
- Choose high-performing foods. When preparing or selecting meals, choose high-quality food. Stay away from processed food and eat more whole food. We are what we eat!
- Stay hydrated. Losing as little as 2% of body fluid can significantly lower athletic performance (especially endurance). Drink fluid throughout the day. Chugging fluid all at once is not a good strategy because the body discards excess fluid when taken too drastically. Carrying a water bottle is a good way to enforce day-to-day hydration.

Goalball athletes also weighed in with their own tips for eating right:

“It is easiest to maintain a nutrition habit when you do it every day. I start every morning by eating a banana. I also always pack an apple in my lunch to eat at work. That way, I know I'm always getting two pieces of fruit every day.” – John Kusku, Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver Medalist

“Moderation is key – whether that is portion size or grabbing fast food every once in a while.” – Jen Armbruster, Seven-time Paralympian and Rio 2016 Bronze Medalist

"Vegetables, fruits, low-fat proteins, and carbs are the foundations of the Athlete's Plate. You don't need to be a Paralympian to eat like one. No one ever gained weight from eating green leafy vegetables. Any time a young blind or visually impaired athlete asks me how I got to the level I did athletically, I tell them I ate a lot of spinach." – Andy Jenks, Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver Medalist

“Growing your own vegetables and fruit is cheaper than buying them, they taste better and it’s a relaxing hobby. It’s also a great way to get kids into eating healthy. As soon as our son could walk, he would walk into the garden and eat the chives. We recently started growing herbs too. Our son really likes the herb garden because its shaped like a castle.” – Asya Miller, Five-time Paralympian and Rio 2016 Bronze Medalist


Mar 01, 2017

2017 Midwest Regional Goalball Tournament Recap

By: Jessica Kusku, Tournament Director

Another great year of competition has come and gone at the Midwest Regional Goalball Tournament. The tournament, held in Warren, MI, continues to be one of the largest tournaments in the country. This year, six women's teams, eighteen men's teams and more than 100 athletes and coaches traveled to Warren to compete for gold in the Paralympic sport.

For the first time, this year's men's tournament play was split between two divisions. The 18 men's teams were split into a Men's Tournament of 10 teams and an Elite Men's Tournament of 8 teams. This split was well received by all participants and allowed for more competitive games with less games ending in the mercy rule.

Games went from 8am to 9pm Saturday and 8am to 1pm Sunday, culminating in three medal rounds, an awards ceremony, and Michigan's traditional All-Star Games.

The medal rounds had great competition, highlighting some of the best teams and individual players from both the USA and Canada. It was also a historical year for medals. For the first time in several years, all the medals from the men's tournaments went to USA-based teams. Additionally, this is the first time in recent history that a Michigan team won a medal at the Michigan tournament.

During the awards ceremony, long-time volunteer, Julianne Kusku, who passed away in November, was remembered in a brief but touching tribute. Rather than a moment of silence, Joe Hamilton lead the crown in a roaring 30 seconds of thunderous applause, cheering, and buzzer sounds. In the words of Joe, "the Kusku family is not one for silence," and the tremendous noise made by everyone there was a loving tribute to a true volunteer and one of goalball's biggest fans.

To finish up a weekend of intense play, the top-voted players and coaches competed in the All-Star Games. The games are a fun way for players to show off their skills, trick shots, and provide a comedic end to the tournament. This year featured guest officials, coaches defending penalty shots, and a men's game that started as goalball and ended as dodgeball. It is a true testament to the sport and its players that teams can go from intense competition to fun and friendly play. Goalball really is one of the best sports in the world!

2017 Top Finishers by division:

Women's:
1. Georgia Phantoms
2. Nova-Q
3. Michigan Livewire

Men's:
1. Midwest Lightning
2. MWABA Eagles
3. BSO-Philly Wings

Elite Men's
1. Moneymen
2. Crown
3. Cyclones


Feb 28, 2017

2017 Spring/Summer Sports Opportunities

Adaptive Sports & Training Opportunities - Spring/Summer 2017

Though the following opportunities are open to all athletes with special funding available to Military Veterans and VA staff. Contact Kevin Brousard for more information at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 719.866.3019.

April 6 – 10, 2017 – Goalball Training CampClick Here to Apply
All blind or VI athletes are eligible to apply to learn more about the game or sharpen their skills.  Participants will get the chance to train with instruction from U.S. National Team players and coaches at the new USABA Goalball Center of Excellence at Turnstone. Anyone who has experience with goalball up to the intermediate level is encouraged to apply.

Athletes at the camp will learn basic goalball skills (blocking, defensive positioning, throwing, game strategy and communication, have two on-court training sessions per day and classroom sessions including film review and theoretical game discussion.  For more information, contact Kevin Brousard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 719.866.3019. 

May 13 - 14, 2017 – Goalball Competition Opportunity – USABA Southwest Regional Goalball Tournament

For more information, contact Kevin Brousard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 719.866.3019.

May 21 – 27, 2017 – Tandem Cycling Development CampClick here to Apply

USABA is pleased to host a Tandem Cycling Development Camp for riders who are blind or visually impaired, at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.  Riders must possess the fitness and equipment necessary to make it through the week-long cycling camp. Only road tandems are approved equipment for this camp.

Cyclists will learn bike handling skills, safe riding techniques, and road racing strategies. Riders are on their bikes twice per day, and will ride up to 140 miles for the week. Athletes will practice skills, engage in race simulations, and participate in classroom seminars.  For more information, contact Pam Fernandes at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 781.449.9563.

June 7 – 13, 2017 – LTA Development Rowing Camp Click here to Apply
USABA is pleased to host an adaptive rowing camp for rowers with physical disabilities to be held at Community Rowing, Inc. in Boston, MA. 

The camp is open to male and female participants but is limited to those eligible for the LTA Paralympic boat class.  A description of the Legs, Trunks and Arms classification and additional adaptive rowing information can be found here.  Generally, the LTA boat class includes visual impairment, single leg amputees and cerebral palsy/TBI.  Athletes with disabilities who are currently rowing or have previous rowing experience or who have a high level of fitness and a competitive athletic background are strongly encouraged to apply.  For more information, contact Ryan Ortiz at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 719.866.3025.

June 22-24, 2017 – Goalball Competition Opportunity – USABA Goalball Nationals

For more information, contact Kevin Brousard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 719.866.3019.


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