Adaptive tennis players breaking serves, barriers in ‘Wheel it Forward’ tournament

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This weekend some of the best adaptive tennis players in the Midwest are competing in the Wheel it Forward tournament in North Kansas City.

“Me and a guy were driving home, and he went off the road and we flipped the car. And I woke up a week later and said, ‘What am I doing here?'” Jarvis Stirn said.

He may not be able to walk. But it doesn’t keep him from doing the things he and the rest of Kansas City’s “No Coast” adaptive tennis team love.

“You get injured and you feel like you’ve lost that competitive edge, you’ve lost that ability to get out there and compete. Then you find a sport where the only rule change is you get two bounces,” Rick Haith said. “They didn’t change the height of the net. They didn’t change the dimensions of the court. They stay true to the sport.”

Haith is outreach coordinator for The Whole Person, the nonprofit organization that puts on the tournament.

“Adaptive sports play a major role in anyone’s life who has a disability. They are able to build confidence, self-esteem, your independence,” Haith said.

This is the first extensive tournament of the season for many wheelchair tennis players in the Midwest region. The participating athletes will not only compete to improve their national and regional rankings but will battle it out for their share of the $4,000 in prize money.

The tournament will be held at the Northland Racquet Club.

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