Supporting Adaptive Athletes (p.26)|
By Jaime Adams
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is celebrating 25 years of removing barriers and empowering people. Passed by Congress in 1990, the ADA provides equal opportunity for persons with disabilities at work and public places. In addition to creating opportunities in work and public places, there is a need and growing demand for communities to provide more opportunities for athletes with adaptive needs. As opportunities increase for athletes who wish to participate in adaptive sports, there is still more work to be done. By definition, adaptive sports, or parasports, are sports played by persons with disabilities, including physical and intellectual disabilities. Many sports for athletes with adaptive needs are based on existing able-bodied sports, modified to meet the needs of those with disabilities; these are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. Disabilities are typically identified in four categories: physical, mental, permanent, and temporary. They include those with visual impairments, amputations, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, head injury, cerebral palsy, other neuromuscular/orthopedic conditions, autism, posttraumatic stress disorder, and related intellectual disabilities.
As a community, we have a responsibility to empower any individual who desires to pursue physical fitness. There are an estimated 14 million athletes in the United States with adaptive needs – both veterans and civilians. The issue of creating equality through more availability of adaptive fitness – fitness for all – is critical. Whether we are assisting these individuals after they return from war or recover from an accident, or are born with an adaptive need, encouraging these individuals to participate in fitness can be a life-changing event that may change the course of their future. Personal trainers and fitness and health care professionals need to start asking why adaptive fitness equipment or programs are not more readily available in their community. The more attention that is brought to this issue, the sooner there will be equality for all athletes.
Wake Forest's Red Dog CrossFit is excited to host the Working Wounded Games – North Carolina on March 12, 2016. Working Wounded Games (WWG) is a CrossFit-styled competition that levels the playing field for severely wounded and permanently injured veterans and civilians. Over 50 athletes will compete in workouts throughout the day, tailored to their adaptive athletic requirements. This event will be the first regional springboard event for the 2016 national WWG, held annually in the Washington, DC area. If you are interested in learning more about WWG, I encourage you to watch this video: bit.ly/WWGvideo.
If you or your organization is interested in being a corporate sponsor or volunteer, please email WWGNorthCarolina@gmail.com, attention Jaime Adams, Director, WWG-NC. Please consider supporting the event by making a donation: bit.ly/WWG-NC-FUNDRAISER. Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance (CAAA), 501c3, will be the recipient of event proceeds. CAAA's mission is to level the playing field for adaptive athletes by helping to facilitate the integration of permanently injured athletes into both sporting and local communities at large through sport and competitive efforts. Follow the event on Facebook at bit.ly/WWG-NC-FB.