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Adaptive sports equipment allows for inclusivity

An accident that could change a person’s life forever can happen in the blink of an eye. And if the result is a loss of mobility, Move Along, Inc. wants to help.

Jeff Wright, the not-for-profit group’s executive director, visited Fayetteville-Manlius High School physical education classes May 16 and 17 to introduce students to wheelchair basketball, sled hockey and hand cycling. Wright visits schools to raise awareness of Move Along, which is a chapter of Disabled Sports USA and focuses on providing sports and recreational activities to people with disabilities.

A male student uses a wheelchair to play basketball.
Junior Nick Testani tries out one of Move Along’s wheelchairs to play wheelchair basketball.

During his brief presentation to students before they tried out some of the adaptive equipment, Wright stressed that people are defined by their abilities, not their disabilities.

“Even if you think you can’t do something, how do you know unless you try?” he asked.

He said by visiting schools like F-M High School, Move Along is trying to spread awareness of its offerings. While the students participating in the school programs may not have a disability, they may know someone with whom they can share what they learned or they may have need of the equipment in the future.

Since Move Along began school visits, the organization has seen an increase in adults participating in its programs, which are free, Wright said.

“We’re looking to spread our message to a wider audience,” he said.

For Chrissy Popper, an F-M High School physical education teacher, having Move Along visit her classes is a lesson in perspective. It also showcases another opportunity for students to be physically active since Move Along stresses inclusivity and opportunities for people of all abilities to participate in sports and recreation programs together.

“Some students may like sports but not main stream sports,” she said.

More information about Move Along can be found on its website.

Two girls use sleds on wheels to play hockey.
Juniors Claire Walters and Nikki Ryan play hockey using an adapted sled from Move Along, Inc.
A female student uses an adapted bicycle.
Junior Ruby Militi tries out a hand-pedal bicycle during a recent physical education class.