The United States Tennis Association (USTA) of Texas recently appointed Jeff Bourns to its Adaptive Tennis Committee. Bourns has 25 years of experience as a competitive tennis player, playing against able-bodied athletes. He has a right knee disarticulation amputation and uses a prosthesis when playing tennis (as opposed to playing wheelchair tennis). He is the first adaptive athlete in this category to serve on the USTA Texas Adaptive Tennis Committee.
In 2014, Bourns, who is the founder of the American Amputee Society, was approached by Cindy Benzon, USTA Southeast Texas adaptive tennis coordinator, who proposed that the two organizations join forces to pioneer stand-up amputee tennis.
Bourns is charged with helping to grow the sport of amputee tennis. He will teach an amputee tennis class twice a week at Houston’s Metropolitan Multi-Service Center. The class is open to all ages and skill levels. He will also advocate for the sport of amputee tennis, look for new talent, make appearances at adaptive tennis events, and participate in committee meetings and correspond with other members to share his experience.
The mission of the USTA Texas Adaptive Tennis program is to provide opportunities for all populations to enjoy and realize the benefits of tennis and its life-changing opportunities. The goal is to promote and develop recreational tennis opportunities for individuals with differing abilities and circumstances through inclusion, knowledge, and support and by providing, where needed, adaptive programming, equipment, and teaching techniques. To date there are no USTA or sanctioned amputee tennis tournaments or competitions.