We Want To Play Too

J-Mac's One Shot

Getting Into The Game

In the 1970's, in the midst of the feminist movement, Title IX was passed. This law mandated that women have equal access to athletics and facilities, and may have paved the way for moments like the 1999 Women's World Cup and leagues like the WNBA.

Now the Education Department has announced that students with disabilities must either be given an opportunity to play on traditional sports teams or that parallel sports must be created. I can't help but think this is the result of the press that athletes with disabilities like Oscar Pistorius and Alex Zanardi have generated. Also stories of athletes with autism and downs syndrome competing on sports have inspired people for years.

But how to do this? Well there are many sports where athletes with disabilities can compete on equal terms, or with minimal modifications; Matt Hamill overcame his deafness to become not only an international champion wrestler, but a professional Mixed Martial Artist, JIm Abbott did not allow not having an arm keep him from playing Major League Baseball, and a young man from Georgia is a star for his team despite missing an arm. A deaf sprinter could have a coach signal when the pistol is fired, a blind golfer could be given verbal description of where their shot has landed, or a bowler in a wheelchair could use a ramp to propel the ball.

Other sports might require more extensive modifications; flag football would allow young people with developmental disabilities to experience that rite of Fall, or hockey and lacrosse could be played with "no check" rules, in sleds or in wheelchairs.

There's the matter of funding these sports for the disabled as well. For that you may need to organize something along the line of a club team, where students for several schools in a district or several districts in a county, with help from the public and businesses, come together for competition and something that may be missing from a lot of high school sports, fun.


Comments 1 comment

thewoodmann30 3 years ago from Bloomfield, CT.

Making sure people with disabilities have the opportunity to play in tradition sports or parallel sports will be challenging. But I believe at some point the transition will be successful.

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