BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby is thrilled to announce a monumental partnership with Paralympic counterpart USA Wheelchair Rugby.
“We have discussed the possibility of working together for years and to see it come true is a big step for us,” USA Wheelchair Rugby Head Coach James Gumbert said. “A partnership with USA Rugby will certainly have an immediate impact on the sport.”
To date, the United States Wheelchair Rugby team is the most successful team in international competition, most recently winning the gold medal at the 2013 Americas Championship. With similar goals, USA Wheelchair Rugby seeks to establish a standard of excellence and continue a tradition of success by developing athletes, staff and teams through education and training.
“We are delighted to partner with our Paralympic sport in supporting the growth of Rugby in the United States,” USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville said. “Together, both organizations will work to take the podium in their respective versions of the sport.”
USA Rugby will help to raise awareness for the sport of wheelchair rugby through the development of a new website and the support of various digital platforms. These initiatives will help to fuel sponsorship, fundraising and overall investment in the sport.
“This partnership is exciting for many reasons, including the opportunity it creates to increase public awareness and positively impact fundraising for both sports,” said Jeff Underwood, president of Lakeshore Foundation, the home of USA Wheelchair Rugby. Lakeshore has managed the U.S. Paralympic rugby program for the United States Olympic Committee for several years. “From our perspective, this partnership is a great step in growing this exciting sport, and that helps our organization achieve the very important goal of furthering the Paralympic movement.”
“I can confidently speak for the whole team in saying that we are excited to become partners with USA Rugby and all that they stand for,” USA Wheelchair Rugby captain Joe Delagrave said. “With this partnership, I feel that USA Wheelchair Rugby can reach new heights on the Road to Rio never before imagined.”
About USA Rugby
Established in 1975, USA Rugby is the governing body for the sport of rugby in America and a Full Sport Member of the United States Olympic Committee. Currently headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA Rugby is charged with developing the game on all levels and has over 115,000 active members. USA Rugby oversees four national teams, multiple collegiate and high school All-American sides, and an emerging Olympic development pathway for elite athletes. It also hosts over 30 national playoff and championship events every year as a service to its members. In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee announced that Rugby Sevens (the seven-a-side version of the game) will appear in the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro. Visit www.usarugby.org for more information.
About Lakeshore Foundation
Lakeshore Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that promotes independence for persons with physically disabling conditions and provides opportunities to pursue active, healthy lifestyles. Lakeshore Foundation is an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the home of USA Wheelchair Rugby and USA Wheelchair Basketball.