Volleyball Beach recently had the pleasure of hosting Paralympic athlete, Dave Newkirk. After Dave posted a video of himself practicing in our heated dome (see below), many of you were curious to know more about him and his story. We took the time to get to know more about Dave and the history behind his Instagram handle @Paralympic3.
Born without his left forearm and hand, Dave has been adapting his activities of daily living his entire life. Dave first started playing volleyball his Junior year of high school. It didn’t take long for him to become a, “volleyball addict,” as he puts it. He continued on to play volleyball at the open collegiate level at Texas Tech. It wasn’t long after that he began to play with a group of Paralympic level players.
Dave went on to compete in several world championships including three Paralympic Games in ’92, ’96 and ’00 for the Men’s US Standing Volleyball Team. After the Sydney 2000 Games, the governing ward of World ParaVolley decided to no longer pursue the standing game and focus solely on sitting volleyball. This took away the speed and athleticism that Dave loved so much about the game.
It wasn’t until the last five years that a resurgence of beach volleyball in para sports has occurred. For Dave, the resurgence was exactly what he was longing for. Dave now competes in one to two international tournaments a year representing the US, including an open tournament in Thailand were he and his team took Poland to a three-game final.
In February, Dave was selected to represent the United States in the Beach ParaVolley World Championship in China this May! With upcoming training camps beginning in April, Dave was ready to get his sand footing back and touch the ball. The one problem? Winter in Kansas City.
Thanks to our heated dome, open play from 4:00-6:00PM at Volleyball Beach was the perfect place for Dave to get some additional practice in before heading to the Oklahoma beaches to train for the World Championship. “I certainly appreciate Volleyball Beach opening up to me,” Dave said. We’re happy to have you, Dave!
Looking forward, Dave hopes to compete in Beach ParaVolley when it is reintroduced at the LA 2028 Paralympic Games. “I’m old, but I still have about 5 to 10 years in me,” Dave jokingly stated.
Regardless, Dave is passionate about passing the skills he has taught himself on to the next generation of high-end athletes with adaptations. “I was that kid born in the early ‘70s without a forearm, I didn’t have all of these people to help me out back then. I just had to figure it out on my own,” said Dave. He is currently inspiring the next generation through public speaking, coaching and online forums for upper extremity adaptive training.
Everyone here at Volleyball Beach wants to extend a heart-felt, “Good luck,” to Dave. Our dome may be coming down, but our courts are always open for you!