Adaptive Sports have Come a Long Way!

Google Creative Commons USA Paralympic logo.

Since the first Paralympics in Rome, Italy, in 1960, the world of adaptive sports has come a long way. The first Paralympic Games were a Summer Games. It wasn’t until 1976 that the first Winter Paralympics were held in Ornskoldvik, Sweden. These games were originally called “Winter Olympic Game for the Disabled.”

Like the regular Olympics, when it first started both the winter and summer games were held in the same calendar year. Then after the 1992 winter and summer games they started alternating between the Summer and Winter games every two years.

With only 47 years under their belt, the Paralympics continued to grow in the number of countries and the number of athletes that participate in each Paralympics. Not only has the world changed the way adaptive sports are looked at but Arizona also has a long history of adaptive sports programs as well.

Infographic That I made to show participation of Nations and Athletes throughout the years in both the Summer and Winter Paralympics. Link Here.

Over the past 30 years companies like Ability 360, Arizona Disabled Sports, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, and Miracle League of Arizona have taken the lead in growing the community of adaptive sports in Arizona and beyond.

Ability 360 logo on the crash mates on the wall behind the basket on the basketball court, in the Ability 360 Sports and Fitness Center. (Photo by Caela Fox)

Ability 360 is a nonprofit organization that started in 1977, as the Arizona Congress for Action. Originally, it was made up of a group of people with various physical disabilities and then it grew to something more. The name was changed in 1981, the same year it started to receive funds, and began providing services to people with disabilities.

Over the past 30 years, Ability 360 has worked really hard to provide a wide array of services and programs for people of all ages and with all kinds of disabilities. Not only do they help people with disabilities in their communities but they also try to help people from all walks of life.

For Mohamed Raafat, Ability 360 is just what he needs to understand how to have accessible facilities and programs that are made for people with disabilities. Along with that it is a great way to show how different America is from other countries like Egypt, which is where Raafat is from.

Raafat’s trip to Arizona took him on adventures he never though possible with his disability. However, he has had the opportunity to go to a Phoenix Suns game,an Arizona Diamondbacks game, skydiving, and even kayaking.

Not only has he learned that he can do anything any one else can but he also learned things for himself personally. He also got inspired by some of the athletes he was able to meet on his trip to Arizona.

My Interview with Mohamed Raafat, just a little section.

Since, the Americans for Disabled Act (ADA) took affect on July 26, 1990 the way America takes protocols and requirements for the ADA very seriously. It also has made it to where people in America don’t really think twice about how difficult it can be for people in other countries that have disabilities. That is why having companies to help spread awareness around the world and help organizations bring adaptive sports/activities to other countries is so important.

Arizona Disabled Sports Logo. (Courtesy of Arizona Disabled Sports)

Arizona Disabled Sports (AZDS), has helped about 1,500 athletes in Arizona and all over the globe. They help people with all kinds of disabilities through multiple adaptive sports. From wheelchair basketball, adaptive archery, power soccer, and more.

Australian Sandy Blythe, shots the basketball in a Wheelchair Basketball game against Japan during the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games. (Credit Wikimedia Commons)

AZDS, was founded about 30 years ago. However, they only started doing business in 2007, due to the fact that they serve people from all over the Phoenix metropolitan area. So, until they were able to accommodate that large of a group they weren’t able to really be a business.

Regardless of that they have been able to help individuals become more independent and feel like they are normal and excepted.

Interview with Tiffany Wilkinson that I conducted.
Photo of a game at Miracle League of Arizona. (Courtesy of Al Maag Board President of Miracle League of Arizona.)

Miracle League of Arizona (MLAZ), was started by Arizona Diamondback Danny Haren and his father Dan Haren Sr. had an idea of building a baseball field just for children with disabilities. This dream started in 2008 and was complete in 2011 when Dan Haren Jr. Miracle League of Arizona Baseball Stadium opened March 11.

MLAZ is a nonprofit organization that puts on baseball games for adolescents with disabilities. These games put the biggest smiles on the kids faces you can’t help but be overjoyed.

MLAZ has inspired so many children. Here is a story of one child that was inspired to walk for the first time without his walker.

A little bit of my interview with Al Maag.

Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), was started in 1997, it is a international recognized nonprofit organization. SARRC works to find what motivates each individual instead of trying to force everyone into one category or program.

Like everyone else in this world we all have our favorite things that get us excited. So, this is the philosophy at SARRC. Their mission is “To advance research and provide a lifetime of support for individuals with autism and their families.”

Because autism is a social disease, it has been shown that golf can help some people. This is due to the structure of golf and how it is an easy way for autistic people can focus on one shot at a time and that it is easy to interact with people who have the same interests as them.

A Little Snip bit of an Interview I did with the President and CEO Dr. Daniel Openden.

With all these companies working to grow the world of adaptive sports. So, has the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Through 15 Summer Paralympic Games and 11 Winter Paralympic Games the IPC has really shown the world how amazing Paralympic Athletes are.

My Story Map on both the Summer and Winter Paralympics Link Here.
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