LAKEWOOD - while other kids got the chance to play sports, 9-year-old Bjorn Robinson was left to watch. In his heart he wanted to play, to feel the same excitement that other kids felt when they competed but there just were not the opportunities.
"He just has such a passion for sports. I think some of his favorite memories are watching the Rockies play and the Broncos play," Bjorn's mother Ashley Robinson said.
Bjorn, and other children and adults in power wheelchairs are no longer left to watch. They are playing and competing in a power soccer program being run by the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation.
"Before the sport of power soccer came along there wasn't a sport for people in power chairs to be able to compete in," Corey Fairbanks, founder of the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation, said.
Power soccer is played with a bumper on the front of the power wheelchair that is used to move the soccer ball. The soccer ball is slightly larger than a standard ball.
"The sport has done so much in my life and become such a key part of my life, and I've seen how it touched so many other people's lives," said J.C. Russo, a member of the Team USA power soccer team.
Russo, who is from Indianapolis, Indiana, came to Denver to help get the program here started.
"I love watching the young kids score a goal for the first time. Their faces light up," Russo said.
The Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation is a non-profit organization that is funded through donations. They also fund wheelchair basketball, softball, rugby, tennis and sled-hockey programs in Colorado. Because power soccer is the only sport available to individuals in power wheelchairs the foundation is hoping to grow the program.
"We at the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation want to be able to provide these smiles for these kids for years to come and we rely on the public to help us out with that. We're totally a non-profit organization that relies on donations from the public so that these kids can participate in sports," Fairbanks said.
At the first practice for the power soccer program Colorado Rapids player Nick LaBrocca spent time working with the kids. He saw in the children the same passion for the sport that he has.
"It is the same smile that I had and still have. You know there's no difference and it is all about the enjoyment and it is great to see that everyone gets to enjoy the game," LaBrocca said.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)