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Charlotte, NC-- One of America’s top inspirational speakers, John Register, speaks to a special luncheon of citizens interested in the Paralympics at 11:30am, Friday, October 9, 2009 in room CH-14 at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center. Register is a Paralympic silver medalist and Manager of the Paralympic Academy. Media are especially invited to cover this event.

The Paralympics are international games, parallel to the regular Olympics, for athletes with disabilities. Register’s Paralympic Academy is an initiative of the US Olympic Committee to publicize and expand Paralympics opportunities and participation.

The Therapeutic Recreation Section of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, Partners for Parks, and interested citizens hope to establish a Paralympics effort in Charlotte to open-up a new range of athletic programs to people with disabilities--for youngsters and adult--and especially for military veterans injured in service. The aim is to use sports as a strong catalyst to help people with injuries and disabilities return to good health.

Register, the keynote speaker, has an exceptional personal story to tell. He was an All-American track and field athlete at the University of Arkansas in the 1980’s. He qualified for the US Olympics Trials in 1988 and 1992 as a hurdler. He joined the US Army and served in Saudi Arabia. Later, while training in an Army program for the 1996 Olympic Games, he sustained a serious injury when his knee hit a hurdle. The injury severed an artery, and he lost his left leg to an amputation, above the knee.

But he didn’t give-up on athletics. Register turned to swimming to increase his stamina. He competed in the 1996 Paralympics Games as a swimmer. Four years later he competed with an artificial leg in the Paralympics 100 meter dash, and he won the silver medal in the long jump!

“Sports are an integral part in the rehabilitation process,” Register says. “That’s why I think it’s so important for kids with physical disabilities to have an outlet allowing them to see what is possible, instead of what is impossible.”