American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP) Honor 20 Special 2022 ASPIRE Awards Recipients

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Atlanta, October 24, 2022

The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, Inc. (AAASP) recognized 47 key people and organizations on October 23rd for their outstanding contributions to support student athletes with physical disabilities to get “off the sidelines and into the game.” The Fourth Annual ASPIRE Awards Celebration, emceed by radio personality and program director Dennis Winslow with special guest speaker, 2-time Paralympian Karin Korb, was held Sunday, October 23rd at Maggiano’s Little Italy. Adapted Sports Programs in Recreation and Education (ASPIRE) Award recognizes the significant contributions of these individuals and organizations that have been central to the mission of making adapted sports programming available nationwide. Through these programs, student athletes with physical disabilities across the country reap the physical, social, emotional, and academic benefits of competitive athletics resulting in personal and social empowerment.

20 Recipients Were Honored at this years’ ASPIRE Awards are listed below:

ADVOCACY AWARD

  • Jeff Battles, Advocacy Award, Muscogee Lions
  • Senator Kim Jackson, Advocacy Award, State of GA

COACH OF THE YEAR

  • Anna Henry, Coach of The Year Award, Houston County Sharks
  • Delton Schoates, Coach of The Year Award, DeKalb Silver Streaks

COMMUNITY-BASED PROGRAM

  • Kids Mobility Network, Community-Based Program Award, Colorado

GAIL HENDRICK VOLUNTEERISM AWARD

  • Marlana ButlerGail Hendrick Volunteerism Award, Gwinnett Heat
  • Michael Davis, Gail Hendrick Volunteerism Award, Clayton Eagles
  • Nicholas Griffin, Gail Hendrick Volunteerism Award, West GA Wolverines
  • Christa HartmanGail Hendrick Volunteerism Award, Houston County Sharks

LESLIE SWEATMAN OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR

  • Leon Porter*, Leslie Sweatman Official of The Year Award (*posthumously), All teams

MEDIA HERO AWARD

  • Marvin James, Media “Hero” Award, WMAZ Channel 13

OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AWARD

  • Zoey Schied, High School Senior Athlete Award, Muscogee Lions, Muscogee County Schools

OUTSTANDING FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

  • Elianna Stevens, Outstanding Female Athlete of The Year Award, Houston County Sharks

OUTSTANDING MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

  • Najee Smothers, Outstanding Male Athlete of The Year Award, DeKalb Silver Streaks

OUTSTANDING SCHOOL-BASED PROGRAM

  • Clayton County Eagles, School-Based Program Award

FOUNDERS AWARDS
AAASP honored the following special people with the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs’ Founders Awards as well:

  • Mike Emery, former Gwinnett County Public Schools Athletic and Activities Director
  • Harlon Matthews, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Henry County Parks and Recreation
  • Ernie Yarbrough, Assistant Executive Director of the Georgia High School Association, and longtime AAASP supporter
  • Carol McCullough, Richmond County Schools retired teacher and AAASP Area Coordinator
  • Janie Thompson-Avant, retired Gwinnett County Public Schools teacher to special needs populations, former Paralympic coach and founder of the Atlanta Disabled Sports Foundation.

Thank you to the following 2022 AAASP ASPIRE Awards Sponsors: the Georgia Department of Education, FlagHouse, the Georgia High School Association, MLT Creative and the AAASP Board of Directors. Check out the listing here: https://adaptedsports.org/aaasp-aspire-awards/.

The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, just celebrated its 25 year as a not-for-profit association dedicated to developing interscholastic adapted sports programs in partnership with national, state, and local educational agencies. It represents a standardized approach to extracurricular adapted team sports and has developed one of the nation’s most comprehensive school-based athletic programs for students with physical disabilities attending elementary, middle and high schools. For more information, please visit our website at https://adaptedsports.org or join our conversations on Twitter at: @AdaptedSports.

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Contacts:
Terri Grunduski, Grunduski Group – terri@grunduskigroup.com 404-226-7497
Donna Feazell, Grunduski Group – donna@grunduskigroup.com 404-290-1929

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