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Nearly 100 athletes compete in 39th annual BAYADA Regatta on the Schuylkill River

Athletes compete in the BAYADA Regatta on the Schuylkill River
Athletes compete in the BAYADA Regatta on the Schuylkill River 01:40

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It was a picture-perfect day for athletes to compete in the 39th annual BAYADA Regatta on the Schuylkill River. Nearly 100 rowers raced in the regatta as the music was blaring and fans cheered them on. 

This is one of the few competitions in the nation that solely focuses on rowers with disabilities. 

"The oldest and longest continuous adaptive rowing competition in the country and that's what's happening here on this beautiful day on the shores of Schuylkill River," Anita Palmer, a BAYADA healthcare project coordinator, said. 

Athlete Pat Ward lost his leg during his time in the Navy and says this program has given him a second chance at life.

"Rowing has been a game changer for me," Ward said. "It helped get me back my confidence. I went through 52 surgeries, so you can imagine you lost a lot. But rowing when I'm out on the water, that's my safe space."


Gold medalist Scott Brown isn't competing this time around but he says this is more than a sport for these athletes. 

"I didn't think there was going to be a future for me and it was this rowing program and all other adaptive programs around across the country that give people with disabilities the chance, and I really hate to say it like this, but the chance to be normal again," Brown said. 

Organizers hope Saturday's event showcases that anyone regardless of their skill level can find support through adaptive sports.

"It's almost a natural process because everything is open to everybody," Palmer said. "It's like with Bayada healthcare, illness doesn't see those boundaries."

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