NORFOLK, Va. — The pandemic has turned everything upside down, and for the Virginia Power Soccer Association (VPSA), things are no different.
Chris Mulholland, commissioner of VPSA, a Hampton Roads adaptive sports organization, said their teams have had to cancel events the players were looking forward to.
"It's really forced everybody to stay alone and inside because these are the most severely disabled athletes," said Mulholland.
The nonprofit develops, supports, and encourages power wheelchair soccer athletes across the state. Mulholland's son, Kevin, plays for VPSA's local team - the Tidewater Piranhas.
"He had to always be very careful with able-bodied people around him," said Mulholland. "But when you're on a soccer field, when you've got other soccer players in wheelchairs as well... they're really able to express themselves aggressively in a good way."
Mulholland said Kevin and his teammates are grappling with the suspension of activities during the pandemic, but the league is working to keep players engaged with virtual sessions and programs. It's encouraging players to keep in touch, and motivating athletes to (safely) get outside.
"It can get a little claustrophobic when you don't have outside contacts," said Mulholland. "And it also helps them reinforce each other's strengths and resilience during this time period."
The group is in need of volunteers. It's also asking for financial support for outreach programs, updated power chairs, soccer balls and traveling fees for when teams can get back to the game.
"It's not so much to feel sorry for the kids, but to help them grow more and do more things, and do the things that the rest of us take for granted," said Mulholland.
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