Adaptive Spotlight: Laredo Tennis Association
The Laredo Tennis Association in Laredo, Texas has had a shining year in the adaptive tennis world, having been featured in a national publication, Tennis Industry Magazine, and spotlighted by USTA.com.
With four very active and very different adaptive programs—Tennis for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Down4Tennis for those with Down syndrome, Children with Cancer, and the Stroke Survivor’s Club—Laredo has set the bar at the highest rung for the nation’s tennis community to meet.
The program's participants, however, want to do more than meet and hit balls: they are asking for opportunities to compete, and the LTA is answering the call.
In October, the LTA hosted its third-annual “Yes We Can” Stroke Survivors' Tournament. Players from the LTA’s Stroke Survivor’s Tennis Club competed in doubles matches with able-bodied partners, all of whom brought their compassion and love of the game.
Teams who could not wait to get on court with their “we are going to take you down” attitude consisted of survivors and partners Jesse Martinez and Bo Mendez, Hector Huerta and Mlersy Rodriguez, Ruben Gutierrez and Maureen DeLaCruz, Sammy Piton and Alicia Gonzalez, Ruby Olivarez and Elizabeth Garcia, and Mando Martinez and Denise Salinas.
Together, each team brought their competivness and tennis passion. First-place winners of the tournament were the team of Jesse Martinez and Bo Mendez.
The Stroke Survivors' Tennis Club was formed as a partnership between Laredo Tennis Association, Laredo Stroke Support Group, and Laredo Parks & Recreation. LTA coaches teach free year-round adaptive and/or modified tennis classes to stroke survivors at the Haynes Racquetball Courts.
The group of 8-10 players meet on two Thursdays of each month for an hour to aid in their cognitive, emotional and physical recovery through tennis skill games and exercises developed and modified to each individual’s ability.
Most of the survivor tennis players were introduced to the sport four years ago while others are new to the classes. Regardless of their time with the group, they all enjoy the challenging and achievable goals set by coaches who ensure their safety and fun on the court. Through unsurpassed dedication and commitment, players make improvements every class as they look forward to their chance to compete and shine as athletes.
This exciting, fun group of survivors look at the world as a challenge that can be met head-on and bring back the competitive juices of life. Through the club they gain friendships, a sense of family, and smiles from each encounter on the tennis court.