Staying active is important for those with physical challenges, according to Dwane Pizzino.
The Beaver man, who suffered a spinal cord injury 18 years ago, won the West Virginia Challenged Cup Gold Tournament at Twin Falls last Friday.
Pizzino won the event for the third straight year.
“I started playing golf three years before I was hurt in 1994,” Pizzino recalled. “It was five years (after the injury) before I played again.”
He said it was the desire to get back on the course “that got me walking again. I love it so much. I had never been a sports person, but when I started playing golf, I fell in love with it.”
Pizzino, 61, says he talks to others with spinal chord injuries and encourages them to become active. “If you don’t stay active, your life expectancy is not as good,” he pointed out.
The Challenged Cup is one of an array of sports offered to the physically challenged through the CAMC Medical Rehabilitation Center Challenged Sports Program, according to Jeremiah Gagnon, program director.
The Medical Rehabilitation sponsor statewide competitions for physically challenged athlete of all ages.
Wheelchair basketball was the first sport offered when the program was established in 1992, Gagnon noted.
Other sports have been added since then, including track and field, archery, swimming, weightlifting and others.
An assortment of clinics in various sports is also a part of the program.
Competitors are grouped with others with similar functional capabilties.
“That levels the playing field,” Gagnon said.