Alabama builds $10M arena for Adapted Athletics

Stoney Sharp reports.

Five national championships in basketball, and two national championships in tennis. Now, the Alabama Adapted Athletics teams will have their very own game and practice venue at the University of Alabama.

UA broke ground on a $10 million facility Thursday afternoon. It will be the first collegiate sports building in the nation solely for disabled athletes.

"It's putting us on an equal playing field with varsity collegiate athletes and it's giving us our own training facility," said Alabama men's wheelchair basketball player Lindy Bridges.

The two-story facility will include a NCAA regulation game venue for wheelchair basketball, locker rooms, workout/training room, strength and conditioning room, team meeting rooms and study halls.

"They will have locker rooms, they can shower, they can workout, they can do their studying. All in the same location. Just like every other sports program on campus. I think that's really big for the mental battle these student athletes face every day," said Ford Burttram, Alabama men's wheelchair basketball head coach.

The new arena will be located along the south facade of the UA Rec Center. Construction is scheduled to finish in late Fall 2017.

UA's Adapted Athletics Program began in 2003 with women's wheelchair basketball. The program has since grown to include 30 student athletes in women's basketball, men's basketball, wheelchair tennis, para-rowing and adapted golf.

You can watch the basketball team in action on TV and online Saturday. We will broadcast their game against Illinois on our sister station CW21 at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night. We will also stream the game live right here online at ABC3340.com .


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