A tennis clinic held today at Grey Rock Tennis Club in South Austin is giving amputees and those in wheelchairs the chance to get moving and for some, find a new passion.
Amputee Macario Cantu has been looking forward to getting out on the tennis court. "I'm motivated and ready to get out here and hit some tennis balls," he said Saturday morning. It's the second time he's participated in the Run and Roll Amputee Tennis Clinic even since losing part of his leg last year due to an old injury from a motorcycle accident. "Everyone has their own unique situation of what happened, but once we're all together, everyone gets around the best they can," said Cantu.
Hanger Clinic, which provides prosthetics and orthodics, sponsors the tennis clinic. This is the 5th annual event. "We offer it to get people to move," says amputee Frieda Borth. In 1977 when she was 27 years old, Frieda was hit by a drunk driver while riding her motorcycle. Her left leg was amputated below the knee. "It was a really bad wreck and I was lucky to be alive actually," she told FOX 7.
Borth loved playing tennis before the accident. With the help of a prosthesis and tennis professional Fernando Velasco she has returned to the sport. "I haven't played for 30 years, played tennis, and now Fernando has opened the clinic every Saturday and there's three or four of us that play every Saturday for two years."
Borth is now an advocate for amputee patients through an organization called amputee empowerment partners. "We go visit people pre-amputation and right after so they meet someone that's walking, wearing the prosthesis and it gives them that hope immediately, 'I'm going to be able to do this.'"
Through the Run and Roll event Cantu and his family discovered a love for tennis. "We ended up buying our own tennis rackets and stuff and there's a high school close to the house and we go out there and play around with the tennis rackets," he said. And now he's hoping to inspire other amputees to pick up a racket and get moving. "Just the motivation, seeing other people doing the same thing with the same disability, should inspire them to at least give it a try, come out and see what it's about."