"The sport of wheelchair tennis has been such an important part of my life and I am very pleased to be able to give back to the sport and the ITF. After my accident wheelchair tennis gave me a sport that I could enjoy with able bodied friends and family, and then as the sport grew it gave me the opportunity to compete at the highest levels."
- Brad Parks
Parks is the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis. Injured during a freestyle skiing competition when he was 18, the American began experimenting with tennis as recreational therapy, and in 1976 wheelchair tennis was born.
Parks and several other disabled athletes began playing and promoting wheelchair tennis in numerous exhibitions and clinics in the United States. The sport quickly grew as a result of this high exposure level, and in 1977 the first wheelchair tennis tournaments were held.
Parks staged the first international wheelchair tennis event, the US Open, in Irvine, California. He was the Tournament Chairman for 18 years, setting the standard for others to follow. Parks recently became the first person associated with wheelchair tennis to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
In 1993, the ITF presented Parks with an inaugural annual award in recognition of outstanding contributions to wheelchair tennis and subsequently named it the Brad Parks Award. The award is given out annually by the ITF Board of Directors to the person or organisation that has shown consistent and high levels of commitment to the sport.
Parks played for the final time on the tour in 1997. He won a gold medal in doubles with Randy Snow at the inaugral Paralympic Games in 1992.