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  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Adrian Boisvert, 6, keeps his eye on the basket as he aims the ball during Olympic Day at Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities. The event, in conjunction with U.S. Paralympics, was a chance to introduce people with physical and visual impairments to Paralympic sports.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Coyle Collier races the ball down the court while participating in Olympic Day at Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities. The event, in conjunction with U.S. Paralympics, was a chance to introduce individuals with physical and visual impairments to Paralympic sports.

Sunday, July 16, 2017 1:00 am

Getting a sporting chance

Turnstone gives people a look at athletic offerings

Austin Candor | The Journal Gazette

Having only been in a wheelchair for a month, Adrian Boisvert didn't let a lack of experience slow him down on the basketball court during Olympic Day at Turnstone on Saturday.

Adrian, 6, was thrown off a slide at Shoaff Park last July, resulting in doctors diagnosing him with a rare form of seizure disorder. While Adrian usually only uses the wheelchair for playing sports, he's learned to have a little fun along the way.

“He's actually gotten really good at (using) his wheelchair at home. We've had to put on wheelie-blockers because he would sit there and pop wheelies all day,” said Adrian's father, Preston Stier, who plans to take Adrian to sled hockey at the Parkview SportONE Icehouse on Sunday.

 “He's going to try out all the sports that they have just to see what he likes and what he's going to be good at.”

Turnstone's two-day event is organized to introduce people with physical and visual impairments to the world of Paralympics. Sports on Saturday included wheelchair basketball, rugby, and soccer, which will be followed by Sunday's activities at Parkview SportONE Icehouse.

The organization had previously been only able to hold one or two sports. After the opening of its new facilities nearly three years ago, Turnstone has been able to expand significantly, something that Turnstone Sports and Recreational Coordinator Kevin Hughes thinks has helped open the eyes of athletes around the community. 

“Some of these individuals might have played sports before their injuries, or grew up not knowing that there were sports for them to be able to play,” Hughes said.

“So there's that opportunity for them to come out and really see what the opportunities are and maybe find and hone in on a sport that they love.”

While Adrian has some exploring to do, Turnstone intern and Pittsburgh native Calahan Young is a prime example of what Hughes hopes to see athletes someday become on some level.

Young, who is visually impaired, got to participate in his first international tournament in Sweden and Lithuania, where he competed in poolball, a sport he's played for 12 years. He hopes to one day play in the Paralympics. 

“That was a good glimpse of what it could be like to travel internationally and play international poolball and be on that next level,” said Young, who's capable of playing any position in the sport.

“(Poolball's) an elite sport. They work as hard as any other sport. When you get to go to the international tournament, it's just that sense of accomplishment, like you actually got to that level.”

While Young is already developing into an elite athlete, he enjoys working with Coordinator Rio James and helping the younger kids at Turnstone develop both their physical and social skills. 

“I love working with kids, I love working with disabilities. I'm legally blind, so I can somewhat relate to their issues and problems,” Young said.

“It's just been a really awesome experience. The facilities here are beautiful,” he added.