University of Michigan nonprofit surprises young athletes with new adaptive equipment

Five-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball, Matt Scott, poses with local athletes Bryan Kreps and Jacob Nelson after surprising them with new adaptive wheelchairs for basketball and track, respectively. The equipment was provided by the University of Michigan Adaptive and Inclusive Sports Experience with funding by The Hartford. (University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Adaptive and Inclusive Sports Experience, a nonprofit organization, recently received a $35,000 grant from The Hartford to purchase custom adaptive sports equipment for young local athletes.

UMAISE purchased more than 30 pieces of the equipment with the grant funding to add to its fleet, including off-road wheelchairs, fully outfitted adaptive kayaks and more.

“UMAISE was honored to be selected by The Hartford and Move United as a recipient of the 2023 Adaptive Equipment Grant,” Kate Crawley, a member of the UMAISE Board of Directors said in a statement. “These funds allow UMAISE to continue providing our participants with high quality equipment and a safe, accessible place to try it out.”

The Hartford was joined by champion wheelchair basketball player Matt Scott in surprising two athletes with their new gear.

Twelve-year-old Bryan Kreps tests out his new adaptive wheelchair on the basketball court with Paralympian Matt Scott in Ann Arbor. (University of Michigan)

Twelve-year-old Bryan Kreps received a Quickie All Court Basketball Wheelchair to play competitively. Kreps, who has a neuromuscular disorder, has been a member of the Ann Arbor-based Rollverines wheelchair basketball team since age six.

Eighteen-year-old Jacob Nelson also received a high-performance adaptive wheelchair to aid with pre-season training for track. The Racing Wheelchair Roller will help the State Champion excel. Nelson, who was born with spina bifida, qualified for regional and state competitions in 2022 for the wheelchair division of track and field.

“The Hartford has been inspiring human achievement through adaptive sports for 30 years,” Hartford official Kathleen Weitz said in a statement. “As a leading provider of disability insurance, we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact sports can have on people and are dedicated to making adaptive sports and equipment more accessible.

“This includes equipment donations to local sports clubs nationwide, raising awareness about equity in sports with its world class Team Hartford athletes, as well as The Hartford Adaptive Sports Competition Series and The Hartford Ski Spectacular in partnership with Move United.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.