Hundreds of athletes with disabilities compete in multi-sport games

Roughly 250 athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairments from across Texas and other states are competing in nine sports.

SAN ANTONIO – Athletes with different physical abilities competed in sports like tennis, ergon cycling and track and field competitions at Morgan’s Wonderland Park, Morgan’s Wonderland Sport, STAR Soccer Complex and Heroes Stadium.

“Representation matters. I know that I didn’t get to meet other kids with disabilities until I went to camps like this. That’s huge,” Dana Matthewson said.

Matthewson is no stranger to competition. She’s a two-time Paralympic tennis player who has represented Team USA in Tokyo and in Rio.

On Saturday, her career brought her to San Antonio.

“It means a lot that I get to come back now as a coach and get to kind of teach people and see little kids get excited the same way I did,” Matthewson said.

This weekend, she and other coaches and volunteers helped the athletes participating in the Texas Regional Games presented by The Hartford.

“Its accumulation for them to come and compete and show what they’ve been worth of training. So hard to do a lot of them, some of our wounded service members and it’s really a part of their rehab,” Wendy Gumbert, Texas Regional Games director, said.

The scale of this competition is impressive -- only a handful of these multi-sport competitions are held in the state.

“We are part of the United competition series and that series serves the whole United States and has over 10, almost 15 competitions,” Gumbert said.

While that number is small, the impact it has on the competing athletes’ lives is great.

“Having a disability doesn’t limit you the way that I think a lot of people assume. When you see someone in a wheelchair and it raises equity awareness, there’s so many good things that come out of it,” Matthewson said.

Some of the athletes at the games are preparing to qualify for the 2022 UIL State Track and Field championships, while others are hoping to qualify for the Para-Olympics.

The games continue Sunday with awards wrapping up at 3 p.m.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.