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Tennis camp shows young wheelchair athletes they're not alone

Published: Sunday, Aug. 18 2013 11:10 p.m. MDT

James said it takes an incredible amount of athletic ability and determination to be successful at a sport like wheelchair tennis.

“The coordination of using your hands and arms for movement and for striking the ball, it takes an incredible amount of athletic ability just to strike the ball,” James said. “It’s incredible. But the best part, the kids who are out here, they don’t care about that.” What the budding athletes care about is learning to play better tennis. They care about making friends and having fun.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Bobbi Hunter. “There are not very many disabled children out here in Grantsville; he’s kind of a minority. For him to feel like he can play, that he feels empowered to do it for himself, that’s just something incredible. And just so he knows he’s not alone.”

Nathan said the camp was for him exactly what his parents and the USTA officials hoped it would be.

“It helps a lot,” he said of playing tennis every day with kids who deal with the same issues he does. “It makes me feel like I’m not alone. And yes, I did have a lot of fun in the tournament today.”

Bobbi Hunter said she’s just interested in Nathan having fun and making friends.

“It melts my heart to see him smiling, having fun and see that confidence that comes from him doing something all on his own," said his mom.

Meanwhile, Nathan admits he has some lofty goals and has even considered how he might make athletics a career.

“I’m hoping I can be in the Paralympics,” he said. “I’d like to be in the police force or be a tennis instructor.”

Twitter: adonsports

Email: adonaldson@deseretnews.com

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