SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2015

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Page 40 of 67 August 2015 41 SPORT Report t U.S. Paralympic officials ideally deter- mine the host city a year out though they do have some flexibility with scheduling so sometimes it might be six to nine months. As for schedules, the Paralympic Games are typically scheduled within a couple of months of the Olympics. Next year they will probably be held in June or J uly, just before the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, though at press time it hadn't yet been decided. The following Paralympics will be around the time of the 2018 Winter Olympics. "We also have national championships for each of our sports annually," said Adams. "Those are big events. We certain- ly encourage cities to take a look at our national championships." DSUSA Though U.S. Paralympics is the governing body for adaptive sports, the Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) organization plays an important role in promoting disabled sports activities and competitions and is also a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. "We are a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee as a community- based organization, but we're not a gov- erning body," explained Julia Ray, pro- grams director for Rockville, Md.-based DSUSA. "We're a grassroots nonprofit organization with 118 chapter member clubs in 42 states. They all operate independently, but they benefit from paid membership with us through grants and various other services. Though it's difficult to determine the total number of individuals in all of the member chapters, we can say we serve over 60,000 individuals with disabilities annually." DSUSA works closely with the gov- erning bodies of many sports for connec- tions, materials, training, instructors and more. "We believe governance of adap- tive sports should be within the regular governing body of a particular sport," said Ray. "We facilitate that." The organization's primary function is simply to, as Ray put it, "empower individuals so that any person with any dis- ability can participate and be active in sports." "We're here to serve people w ho want to get in sports and recreation, most commonly for the entry level," said Ray. "That includes competitions, camps, clinics and outreach programs that create a year- round schedule of events designed for people with dis- abilities." Like U.S. Paralympics, DSUSA has ongoing efforts to engage the disabled associated with military veterans, military medical facilities and veterans' service organizations with its Warfighter Sports program. The organization is also, according to Ray, trying to get more involved in school sys- tems through the multi-organi- zational task force called Athletics For All. DSUSA also provides funds for many disability sport com- petitions in the U.S., according to Ray. This year DSUSA is sponsoring the Endeavor Games, the Great Lakes Games, the Desert Challenge Games and the National Junior Disability Championship, just to name a few. As for DSUSA member organizations, Ray indicated that most of their disabled sports events take place at the same facilities year after year. "Considering the special accommoda- tions you need to put on an adaptive event, when you find a good venue you tend to not let it go. In general, Ray said that cities and venues should consider the needs of peo- ple with disabilities when they're hosting any event whether adaptive or not, mak- ing sure their venues are accessible and inviting to people with disabilities. "That can be very minor accommodations, it doesn't have to be big, expensive repur- posing," noted Ray. "It should just be an environment that is welcoming and will- ing to make accommodations so that peo- ple with disabilities can come and enjoy activities." n Adaptive Sports Resources ‰ American Association of Adapted Sports Programs ‰ Adaptive Sports Foundation ‰ Wheelchair Sports Federation ‰ Wheelchair & Ambulatory Sports, USA ‰ National Beep Baseball Association ‰ Water Skiers with Disabilities Association ‰ Adaptive Action Sports ‰ The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition Ray DSUSA

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