Dr. Matthew Parry and Dr. Melinda Parry understand how important sports and recreation are to the human psyche.
Paralyzed in a go-cart accident when he was only 11 years old, Matt used the lessons that he learned as a club soccer player to take the world of wheelchair athletics by storm, becoming a two-time world record holder and two-time world champion in the 100m (T53), a Paralympic medalist, a 25-time American record holder in the 100m, 200m, 800m, 4x100m, and 4x400m, a 35-time junior American record holder in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, and discuss, and a two-time national table tennis champion. In addition to receiving numerous awards, including the prestigious Gene Autry Courage Award in 1995, its inaugural year, Matt’s wheelchair racing success resulted in an athletic scholarship from the University of Arizona to attend law school and, later, to a Ph.D. in European History.
During her freshman year at the University of Arizona, where she was studying to become a pediatric, orthopedic nurse practitioner, Melinda’s life took an unexpected turn when she likewise became paralyzed after breaking her back in a roll-over car accident. Melinda was determined not to let her disability stop her from enjoying life, immediately returning to school after completing rehabilitation and joining the wheelchair racing team. Although she could no longer pursue her dream of helping disabled children to walk, she found another way to make a difference in the lives of children by obtaining a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.
When Matt and Melinda started a family, their two sons, Brendan and Julian, desperately wanted to play soccer. Because Matt and Melinda could not physically demonstrate any soccer skills, they combined their 20 years of coaching and teaching experience, along with Melinda’s considerable experience with technology, to devise an online training system based on the highlight videos of two YouTube soccer prodigies, Madin Mohammad, “6 Year Old Next Ronaldo,” and Hassan Ayari, “Little Messi,” the son of a Tunisian wheelchair racer. Brendan and Julian, endeavoring to be like their internet heroes, asked Matt and Melinda to help them create their own “soccer skills for kids” tutorial videos, which have proved far more successful than either of them could have dreamed