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International tourney draws 80 wheelchair tennis athletes to Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS Mich. – Eighty wheelchair tennis athletes from all over the world will compete in Grand Rapids this weekend at the 2019 Midwest Wheelchair Tennis Championships, hosted by Mary Free Bed Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports. The highly competitive tournament will showcase athletes of all levels of experience, including Paralympians and hometown heroes.

When: 2-6 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Most finals 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
The tournament link can be found here.
Where: MVP Athletic Club Crahen, 115 Crahen Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

The tournament will feature two-time Paralympian Emmy Kaiser of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, who will compete in the Women’s Open Singles division. Born with spina bifida, Emmy discovered wheelchair tennis at the age of 5 and developed into an elite athlete, winning gold (doubles) and silver (singles) medals in the 2011 Parapan American Games. She’s competed on the world’s largest stages, including the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games in London and Rio de Janeiro, respectively.

Also competing will be local athlete Brian Davis (pictured above), a Creston High School graduate who joined the Navy and served four years. When he returned to Grand Rapids, Brian sustained a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident. During outpatient rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed, he was introduced to wheelchair tennis and now he travels the country playing in tournaments. He also coaches the boys’ and girls’ junior varsity tennis teams at East Grand Rapids High School.

Athletes will compete for over $15,000 in prize money during 200-plus matches.  Among those competing in the International Tennis Federation Level 3 and United States Tennis Association Category II event are athletes traveling from Great Britain, Japan, Portugal and Brazil as well as members of Mary Free Bed’s tennis team.

For more information or to schedule interviews, contact Jeovani Pantoja, Mary Free Bed sports coordinator, at 616.328.3910 or jeovani.pantoja@maryfreebed.com, or Chris Mills, media relations specialist, at 616.490.0480 or chris.mills@maryfreebed.com

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. Since 1891, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults who have experienced brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The combination of more than 110 specialized medical and sports rehabilitation programs and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables our specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve outstanding clinical results. For additional information, visit maryfreebed.com.

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