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Published: August 29, 2012
Media Arts and Science students Eric Isenhart, Mark Hicks and Michael Hicks have gained a greater appreciation for athletes with disabilities thanks to a recent project they completed as part of Associate Professor Edgar Huang’s “Advanced Video” class.
The trio produced a promotional video for the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI), which introduced them to several youth and adult athletes who, despite struggles with spinal cord, orthopedic, neuromuscular or visual impairments, are excelling in their sports – and life.
At the time of filming, some of these athletes were even Paralympic hopefuls, and were training for the chance to compete in the 2012 Paralympics which opens in London today. One of RHI’s athletes – Cat Bouwkamp, a wheelchair fencer – qualified for the 2012 U.S. Paralympic team. She is featured in the video. Learn more about her and other athletes here: http://rhin.com/category/athletics/athletes/
Isenhart, a senior from Champaign, Ill., learned that RHI wanted a video highlighting the hospital’s sports program for its website and for promotional and fund-raising use. So the students developed a plan, presented their ideas and began scheduling shoots that same week.
“I didn’t know anyone personally who participated in these sports before I began the project,” Michael Hicks, a senior from Avon, said. His brother, Mark, is a junior MAS student, also from Avon. “Throughout the course of doing the project we met a lot of different athletes who inspired us throughout the production. Working with nine different sports, we were able to meet a lot of different people.”
He said that was his favorite part of the project, as they were able to talk with athletes who compete in everything from wheelchair fencing, archery, handcycling, water skiing, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, track, racing, quad rugby, power soccer and beep baseball.
“It was a very interesting and eye-opening experience,” he said. “Everyone we met was very friendly and welcoming, which made filming a comfortable experience.”
RHI premiered the video at its annual gala at Old National Centre, with more than 400 people in attendance.
“Our video was played before the donation portion of the program and they raised more money than any other year,” Michael Hicks said. “They seemed to very much enjoy our video and were happy with our final result.”
Jacob Patrick, program coordinator for RHI’s Sports Program, agreed the video had a positive impact.
“We made $1,500 more at this year’s gala than we ever had before and donations were accepted right after the video was shown. So I think it had a good impact,” Patrick said. “The video turned out great. We were on a time crunch and didn’t have a lot of editing time, so we were trusting them to put it all together and see how it turned out. It definitely turned out great.”
Hicks added that the most challenging part was scheduling and planning the shoots, then having to make last-minute adjustments due those schedules.
“The schedule was something that kept us on our toes throughout the project,” he said. “My advice to anyone working on this type of project would be to make sure you plan everything as thoroughly as you can. You never know when something you planned isn’t going to work and you have to switch around your whole schedule. Leave plenty of room for changes.”
Since 2005, RHI Sports has been identified as a United States Paralympic Sports Club an official Indiana training partner to aid in the development of youth and adult athletes for world class competition. To date, the Sports Program has sent 12 athletes and coaches across the country and around the world for education, training, and competition.
The Paralympic Games first took place in Rome in 1960 and featured 400 athletes from 28 countries. As the years have passed, the Paralympic Games have grown bigger and become more high profile, becoming the second largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympic Games. The London 2012 Paralympic Games will see 4,280 athletes compete – the largest number ever to attend. More than 530 gold medals will be awarded over the course of the 11 days of competition.
To learn more, visit http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/