South Charlotte

Injury no handicap in this sports league

Having recently developed a love for tennis, Twila Adams is giddy knowing her new wheelchair, which can adapt to the sport, will be delivered to her any day.

In the meantime, the 52-year-old University Park resident was one of the dozen or so who attended Paralympic Sport Metrolina's first Paralympic Experience event at the Marion Diehl Recreation Center on Nov. 12.

A quadriplegic since a 1994 automobile accident, Adams began playing wheelchair sports in 2002.

A member of the Army from 1980 to 1991, Adams reached the rank of sergeant. She is a veteran of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in Kuwait and Iraq in 1990-91.

A lifelong Charlotte resident, Adams became a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. In 2002, she traveled to the Veterans hospital in Richmond, Va., for an annual spinal chord exam and was introduced to wheelchair sports. A recreation specialist at the hospital asked Adams if she was planning on participating in the PVA's upcoming National Wheelchair Games.

"I asked, 'What (sports) can I do?' " said Adams. "She said, 'Anything.' "

That year, Adams traveled to Cleveland for her first national competition, where she collected five medals.

Adams competed in two more National Wheelchair Games, most recently in 2004 in St. Louis. She has also participated in smaller-scale regional events over the years. Her busy schedule hasn't let her compete recently, she said. She served on the PVA board of directors from 2006-08 and still volunteers with the organization.

Adams attended the Paralympic Experience event last weekend to get a taste of sports she had not yet tried. She said she hopes more people now will take an interest in Paralympic Sport Metrolina. "It would be great if this whole field was full of people from the community," she said, "just so they can see what it's all about."