Written by Caden Nelms, Staff Writer
Piedmont College is known for their wide variety of sports teams but starting in fall 2020, they will be adding another team. In an effort to be inclusive, Piedmont has decided to start a drag racing team for their wheelchair bound students.
Many students were shocked and confused at the sudden announcement of this new sport. Some even ask, “Are there enough students in wheelchairs to make a full sport out of it?” While it took nearly a week for a response, Athletic Director Jim Peeples responded in an email to all students.
“While we have very few students at Piedmont in wheelchairs, we think we have a solution put in place,” said Peeples. “We will buy additional wheelchairs, and other necessary equipment, and whoever wants to play will use one while on the field!”
Furthermore, Peeples explained in an effort to be more inclusive Piedmont’s mascot, Leo the Lion, will also attend sporting events in a wheelchair. Piedmont feels if our beloved mascot supports the new changes, the student body at Piedmont will too!
Athletic Director Jim Peeples also mentioned in the email an explanation on the other colleges we will compete against.
“At this time we have not found any other college with a wheelchair drag racing team, but we are determined to find other colleges before the fall season begins,” Said Peeples. “We will have the schedule and the team finalized before the start of the fall semester.”
While it is something completely new for Piedmont, Dean of Student Life and Leadership Kimberly Crawford feels confident that this is the right move towards equal opportunity for all students.
“Here at Piedmont equal opportunity is very important to us and we want all students, especially the ones with disabilities, to know that when looking at Piedmont,” Said Crawford. “This drag racing team will provide the fun and involvement the disabled students have continuously asked for from Piedmont College.”
Dr. Sue Smith, Disability Support Coordinator, at first was concerned about student safety during the sport activities. However, after hearing about all of the regulations and safety precautions that were being put in place, she thought the team was a great idea and opportunity for the students involved! Dr. Smith has also been appointed to be the head coach for the drag racing team.
This team will be an excellent addition to Piedmont athletics and the college seems very eager to get the first season up and running….or rather, rolling.