Hall of Famer Brad Parks helps dedicate Handicap Ramp at Hall of Fame
On July 11, 2010, Class of 2010 Hall of Famer Brad Parks cut the ribbon on a new handicap accessible ramp at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Parks, the first ever Wheelchair Tennis inductee, was honored with Hall of Fame induction a day prior.
Click the arrow above in the photo to view video of the event.
The ramp will make the International Tennis Hall of Fame a more welcoming venue for all to attend events and enjoy the site's historic architecture. In addition to Parks, the dedication was attended by Mark Bullock, Wheelchair Tennis Manager for the ITF; Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame; Tony Trabert, President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame; Mark Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame; and several Hall of Fame Directors.
Parks, of San Clemente, CA, is the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis worldwide. During an amateur freestyle skiing competition, he suffered a disabling injury when he was 18. He began experimenting with tennis as a method of therapy, and in 1976, wheelchair tennis was born.
The first wheelchair tennis tournaments were held in 1977 and interest in the sport grew quickly. This success motivated Parks to found the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis (NFWT) as the organizing body for the sport. Parks started the first international wheelchair tennis event, the US Open, held in Irvine, California. He was the tournament chairman for 18 years. Today the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour is comprised of more than 157 tournaments in more than 40 countries, exceeding a total of $1,500,000 in prize money.
Parks is also credited with spreading the sport internationally by holding clinics throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific. In 1988, the International Wheelchair Tennis Federation (IWTF) was formed to govern this growing international sport with Parks as the inaugural president. He served on the Management Committee for many years and was a driving force of international wheelchair tennis. In 1998, the IWTF was fully integrated into the International Tennis Federation, making it the first disabled sport to achieve such a union on the international level. Today almost 100 countries offer wheelchair tennis programs, and the sport is played at all four Grand Slams.