Winter’s winding down, and that means it’s a college sports fan’s favorite time of year: March Madness. But why should the college athletes have all the fun? Thanks to shifting mindsets and advances in technology, a wide variety of adaptive sports are available for anyone living with a disability. Plus, the growing number of sports associations for people with disabilities makes it easy to find ways to stay active locally. If you’re ready to pick up a new sport, or were inspired by the multi-sport athlete we recently featured, here’s how to get started.
How to Find Adaptive Sports Near You
International events like The Paralympic Games have created a way for elite athletes to compete and be seen on a global scale and increased the visibility of athletes with disabilities. They’ve helped many people realize that their disability doesn’t have to stop them from participating in athletic competition.
But where do you start? Here’s how to find adaptive sports associations, leagues and sports clubs near you:
- Disabled Sports USA – with more than 100 chapters in 37 states, they’ve got something for everyone. From wheelchair basketball to kayaking, every athlete can find their niche. Programs are broken up by season – winter and summer – and there are specialty programs for children and veterans.
- The US Dept. of Veterans Affairs – this easy-to-use sports club finder can help anyone find a community-based organization near you. Enter your zip code and you’ll get a list of local sports clubs for people with disabilities, along with contact information and links to their websites.
- Adaptive Sports USA – founded after World War II, this organization used to be known as Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports USA. They regularly host local, national and international events.
Sports for Kids with Disabilities
Playing sports is important for all kids. It builds their teamwork and communication skills, teaches them sportsmanship and keeps them active. For many children with disabilities, however, finding ways to get involved with sports can be a challenge. These associations offer all kinds of sports for kids with disabilities:
- American Association of adaptedSPORTS® Programs (AAASP) – this organization aims to create a standardized approach to sports for children with disabilities. Many schools want to create programs for their students, but don’t know where to start. AAASP provides them with a framework to build on. They also enable competition between schools by establishing basic rules for each sport. Many parents appreciate that the standardized approach doesn’t allow for the rules to be bent or watered down.
- Adaptive Adventures – centered around alpine skiing, cycling, paddling, and water-skiing/wakeboarding, adaptive adventures focuses on getting kids to enjoy outdoor sports. Through their Stars of Tomorrow summer camps, they’ve created fun outdoor activities for kids with disabilities for over ten years.
Are you living an active life with disabilities? Tell us what adaptive sports you participate in below. You may be featured in a future blog post!
AHM Exposed is the blog for At Home Medical, which specializes in selling continence care and other medical supplies for those with disabilities.