HOUSTON – (April 9, 2014) – Rice University will co-host the 2014 Transplant Games of America, an Olympic-style competition to be held July 10-15 for organ, tissue and bone-marrow transplant recipients and donors. Rice will provide its facilities for track and field and swimming competitions.
The Transplant Games will also use BBVA Compass Stadium, the George R. Brown Convention Center and various other facilities throughout Houston.
“We are honored to co-host this important event, and we look forward to welcoming these inspiring athletes to Rice,” said Rice University Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard. “This is another great example of Rice’s collaboration with the city, county and our neighbors in the Texas Medical Center.”
Houston was selected in 2012 to host the games, which will be a collaboration of area hospitals, the medical community, Harris County and the city of Houston.
Bill Ryan, president and CEO of the Transplant Games of America, said, “Houston won out over a number of exceptional communities for a variety of reasons. The Sports Authority bid clearly demonstrated an overwhelming commitment to the rich history of the Transplant Games and the cause of organ donation and transplantation.
“The local medical community played a great role in the selection of Houston for the Transplant Games, and the leadership and professionalism of the nationally recognized Harris County-Houston Sports Authority created an unmatched excitement in bringing the games to this community,” Ryan added.
More than 2,000 athletes are expected for the games. The sporting events include a 5K run, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, racquetball, swimming, table tennis, tennis and track and field.
“I can’t wait for Houston to host the games,” said Brian Gilliam, a Houston transplant recipient and athlete. “We will have a large number of living donors and donor families attend since the games are in Houston, and they are reason that we compete!”
Aside from the sporting competition, which will take place over four days, the event will include opening and closing ceremonies and a series of tributes to many of the heroes of organ donation. Athletes and their families, donor families and thousands of supporters will gather at Athletes Village to help deliver the important message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves lives.
More than 110 million American adults are currently enrolled in state donor registries, an increase of 50 percent over the past five years. Still, with 120,000 men, women and children awaiting lifesaving or healing transplants, there is a critical need for more registered donors.
The Transplant Games of America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to promote organ, eye and tissue donation, as well as to bring awareness to advances in the field of transplantation and in the development of immunosuppressant drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.
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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6.3-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here.
Transplant Games of America
The Transplant Games of America is a biennial event held in the United States to recognize the accomplishments of individuals whose lives have been affected by eye, organ, and tissue donation. This festival-style event brings athletes, living donors, and donor family members together to promote awareness of the life-changing impact that donation represents today. Teams from virtually every state compete is a variety of sporting and non-sport competitive events to demonstrate how their lives have been changed through the gift of life as a result of organ, eye, and tissue donation. The 2012 Transplant Games of America held in Grand Rapids, Michigan brought together 1,377 athletes from 47 states.
Harris County-Houston Sports Authority
The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority maintains the facilities and services the debt of the world-class, professional sports venues it was created to build. To support this primary mission, the Sports Authority serves as a leading proponent for attracting sporting events to Houston and for promoting the city as a home for sports-related activities, to ultimately enhance Houston’s economic development and bring better quality of life for its residents.