Disability and Sports

Panel of Paralympic Athletes

including Cheri Blauwet M.D., former International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, Anjali Forder-Pratt, Ph.D., Brad Parks, and John Register. Moderated by Paul DePace.


Cheri Blauwet, M.D.

Cheri Blauwet, MD is an Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. She serves as Director of the Kelley Adaptive Sports Research Institute. Dr. Blauwet is also a former Paralympic athlete in the sport of wheelchair racing, competing for the United States Team in three Paralypmic Games (Sydney ’00, Athens ’04, Beijing ’08) and bringing home a total of seven Paralympic medals. She is also a two-time winner of both the Boston and New York City Marathons.  Dr. Blauwet now serves as a Member of the International Paralympic Committee’s Medical Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) as well as numerous other leadership roles throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Movement.

Sir Philip Craven

1st IPC Athletes Forum 2017 – Duisburg/Germany
8 – 11 June 2017
In the time of 8th to 11st of June 2017, the first IPC Athletes Forum will be held in the Sportschule Duisburg-Wedau (Germany). IF Athletes Representatives and NPC Athletes Representatives will meet to have workshops and discussions.

Sir Philip’s contributions to wheelchair and Paralympic sports far exceed his own competition in the 1970s and 1980s in wheelchair basketball and swimming. A select few of these contributions include being a Board Member of the London 2012 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic games, Member of the Executive Board of the British Olympic Association from 2003 to 2017, Member of the International Olympic Committee from 2003 to 2017, and President of the International Paralympic Committee from 2001 to 2017. He is currently an Independent Member of the Supervisory Board of Tennis Integrity Unit. He has received numerous awards and Honorary Doctorates in Great Britain, and other European and Asian countries. He was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services to Paralympic Sport in 2005.

Anjali Forber-Pratt, Ph.D.

Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development with secondary appointments in the Department of Special Education and Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is also a member of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. Her primary area of research relates to disability identity development. She presents regularly at state, national, and international conferences and is author on 28 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous chapters. As a wheelchair-user herself for over 30 years, and a two-time Paralympian and medalist, Dr. Forber-Pratt is also nationally and internationally recognized as a disability leader and mentor.

Brad Parks

Brad Parks is the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis.  After being injured in a skiing accident at the age of 18, Brad began experimenting with tennis as a method of therapy and, in 1976, wheelchair tennis was born, with the first wheelchair tennis tournaments being held only one year later.  His efforts to grow the sport resulted in the sport being spread internationally, currently played in about 100 countries.  Wheelchair tennis is now fully integrated with the International Tennis Federation and is played at all four Grand Slam tennis events. All of this was accomplished with only one change in the rules of tennis.  Brad retired from competitive play in 1995 after winning numerous medals, including a gold medal in tennis doubles in the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, and more than a dozen National Wheelchair Tennis Singles titles.  Brad was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010 in the Contributor category.

John Register

John Register is a life-long athlete and a US Army veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  While training to compete in the 1996 Olympics, he incurred an injury that resulted in the amputation of his left leg above the knee.  Employing sports to aid his rehabilitation, he competed in the 1996 Paralympics in swimming only 18 months after his amputation.  He was then fitted with a running prosthesis and competed in the 2000 Paralympics, earning the Silver medal in the long jump.  John remained active with the military as a sports specialist and, in 2003, accepted a position with the US Olympic Committee and began the USOC Paralympic Military Program, which uses sports to assist the recovery of ill or injured service members.

John frequently engages in peer mentor visits at military and veteran hospitals and serves on numerous boards.  John is married to the former Alice Johnson and the father of three children, Ron, John Jr., and Ashley.

2020 Speaker List