Field scores a home run for Courage Center teams

A 30-year dream came true Aug. 9 when Courage Center welcomed the public to the new Todd Anderson Field in Brooklyn Park. Members of Courage Center’s wheelchair softball teams—the Jr. Rolling Twins and the 2011 National Champion Adult Rolling Twins, Courage Center’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Research,

Photo courtesy of Courage Center

 John Tschida was among the Courage Center leaders on hand welcoming guests who included Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeffrey Lunde and City Council members; Dawnette Synder, regional market manager from Pepsi; Minnesota Twins’ President Dave St. Peter, Community Relations Director Bryan Donaldson and emcee Tim Laudner; Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin; Brad Ruhl, president and CEO of Ottobock; representatives from Minnesota Amateur Sports, Courage Center staff and volunteers, and many friends who came to the ribbon cutting and demonstration softball game.

The new field, Minnesota’s first softball field for competitive wheelchair play, was made possible in part by winning a $200,000 grant through the Major League Baseball/Pepsi Refresh Project. In 2010, Courage Center was chosen by the Minnesota Twins to be the charity partner for the Major League Baseball/Pepsi Refresh Grant contest.

The Twins competed against and were eventually victorious in the vote-getting campaign over 14 other MLB teams. More than two million votes were cast. The Minnesota Twins won the Pepsi Refresh Project by 60,000 votes.

The ball field’s namesake, Todd Anderson, was an internationally-recognized expert and innovator in the design of artificial limbs and an inspiration in the adapted sports community. After a motorcycle accident left him as a single-leg amputee, he went back to school to become a prosthesis maker. He became active in adaptive sports, particularly wheelchair softball, in which he went on to help win national championships for Courage Center teams. He was a longtime employee of Ottobock. He passed away at age 50.

The new field is at Northwoods Park in Brooklyn Park, at the intersection of 107th Ave. and Winnetka Ave. N.

The field dedication was just one honor given to Courage Center in August. In conjunction with the field opening, Courage Center received the State Farm Go to Bat Award on Aug. 5 during the Twins’ pregame program. State Farm recognized Courage Center for its outstanding commitment and support of the local community. Members of the national champion Jr. Rolling Twins stood at home plate at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis to receive the award.

Courage Center is a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. There are two wheelchair softball teams managed through Courage Center, the Rolling Twins and the Jr. Rolling Twins. The youth team features players ages 6-18. The players learn fundamental softball skills like batting, fielding and base running in addition to the competition of games, some on a national level. The adult team competes both regionally and nationally.

Baseball is just one of many sports and recreation opportunities offered by Courage Center. For more information on these programs, visit www.couragecenter.org/ContentPages/sportsandrec.aspx

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