National Mobility Awareness Month Feature:
James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | May 20, 2019
BRISTOL, CT- In honor of National Mobility Awareness Month, USTA New England is highlighting wheelchair tennis players in the New England tennis community. In this feature, we are proud to celebrate former competitive player and wheelchair tennis advocate, David Kelly, of Bristol, CT. David works full time for ESPN, and in his free time, he enjoys competing, instructing, and giving back to the sport of wheelchair tennis. He hopes to build awareness for future growth of the sport.
Q & A with David Kelly:
What is your involvement in the New England tennis community, and why is it so important to you?
I was injured in an automobile accident when I was 25. I was introduced to wheelchair tennis at a clinic at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, CT in 2005 primarily as a means to stay fit and have some fun. ADVERTISEMENT I started playing competitively in 2006 and played consistently through 2017. Now, I enjoy playing for fun on the Gaylord Hospital Wheelchair Tennis Team and introducing the sport to new players.
I feel it’s important for me to stay involved with wheelchair tennis because I know what it’s done for me. I enjoy the sport, understand the impact it can have on a player’s wellbeing, both physically and mentally, and recognize the need to build awareness for future growth.
Do you have a role model who contributed to your tennis success?
My first and only wheelchair tennis instructor and coach was Paul Brower in Connecticut. He introduced me to the sport at a clinic and has been instrumental in keeping me engaged and motivated. As a tennis instructor and new wheelchair tennis coach, Paul and I were able to learn and practice specific techniques and drills together. I wish him all the best in his retirement!
What can we do to get more Wheelchair tennis players playing tennis?
As an employee of ESPN, I’d like to think my efforts in getting the company to include coverage of the wheelchair tennis competition at the Grand Slam tournaments has made a meaningful contribution to the sport. I was very excited and proud to see matches broadcast on the ESPN platforms.
I remain an advocate for wheelchair tennis by participating in various exhibitions, serving on the USTA New England Wheelchair Tennis Committee, and playing within the local community. I believe being visible in the community playing tennis is the best way to attract more players of all ages to the sport.
What has been your most meaningful contribution to the tennis community?
I serve on the Board of the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, CT. The hospital supports an adaptive sports program, including the annual Ivan Lendl Adaptive Sports Camp, which introduces children to wheelchair tennis and other sports. Ivan has been very supportive and a valuable partner for this program.
To learn more about the sports programs at Gaylord Hospital, click here.
To learn more about the Ivan Lendl Adaptive Sports Camp, click here.