April 6, 2010

NCAA Release

Representatives from the NCAA and the cheer teams for the two schools vying for the Division I women’s basketball national championship paid a visit to America’s wounded warriors at The Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Texas, today.

The NCAA arranged for the mascots and cheerleaders from the University of Connecticut and Stanford University to visit the state-of-the-art rehabilitation center as part of the 2010 Women’s Final Four activities. Former American Idol contestant and Boston College women’s basketball student-athlete Ayla Brown performed the National Anthem.

In addition to visiting the soldiers, the cheerleaders helped celebrate the start of the second annual “Ride 2 Recovery.” The ride by wounded veterans, many of them amputees, and volunteers is a six-day, 330-mile bicycle ride from The Center for the Intrepid, to Arlington, Texas.

"It is an honor to show our support for these great young men and women who have done so much for our country. We appreciate their sacrifice and everything that our troops do here at home and around the world,” said Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president for Division I women’s basketball. “Their courage on a daily basis is inspiring.”

After doing some cheerleading routines and sending the riders on their way, the 20-some cheerleaders and team mascots toured the world-class facility mingling with the troops as they did.

“We are so thankful to have this opportunity to meet with the nation’s veterans,” said Taylor Belchak, senior captain of the Stanford University cheerleading team. “And we will never forget this humbling experience.”

“We were all amazed by what the Center had to offer for these heroic individuals,” said Heather Heimann, senior captain of the University of Connecticut cheerleading team. “This visit was a very inspirational moment for all of us.”

About the NCAA and Division I Women’s Basketball

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities.  Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions – AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola – and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners – Enterprise, The Hartford, Hershey’s, LG, Lowe’s, Planters, State Farm and UPS.

NCAA women’s basketball is characterized by strong fundamentals, high quality of play, sportsmanship, role model student-athletes and family oriented entertainment. The latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate figures show 83 percent of NCAA Division I women’s basketball players graduate. In terms of the NCAA Academic Progress Rate, which measures term-by-term academic success, the overall score is 962, well above the NCAA benchmark of 925.

About The Center for the Intrepid

The Center for the Intrepid is a world-class physical rehabilitation facility focused on medical and rehabilitative care of wounded warriors and veterans, injured in service to America, many of whom have suffered limb-loss. Its premier facilities incorporate the best technology and techniques anywhere in the world and are beyond state-of-the-art. For more information, visit www.fallenheroesfund.org.