Role of Adaptive Sport during ADA

Jul 27, 2015
Tagged with: Role of Adaptive Sport during ADA

Born without a right hand and forearm, Natalia Partyka won the Paralympic championship in 2004. Paola Fantato has been a wheelchair user since the age of eight, yet she was the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and the Paralympics in 1996. Silver-medal-winner Terence Parkin has been deaf since birth, but that didn’t stop him from winning medals in swimming competitions. There are many athletes with disabilities who inspire us with their competitive spirit. Whether it’s winning races, grappling on the wrestling mat, or riding the ocean waves, athletes with disabilities stand as the epitome of strength and success.

If you are a person with a disability, then consider getting into adaptive sport as it can enhance your life in various ways. Here are four major benefits of adaptive sport for people with disabilities.

1. Combatting Stigma

Disability invokes negative attitudes and discrimination in several societies, and there have been certain cases where people with disabilities have had to face societal barriers. This is where Adaptive sport comes into the picture.

Adaptive Sport can help people with disability recognize their potential as athletes. Hopefully, this may lead to a change in the perception of society in their narrow view of people with disabilities in general. Adaptive Sport can help combat stigma, mainly because it displays the skills of the athletes. Spectators can focus on the athletic achievements and the competition itself.

2. Fostering Healthy Communication

Adaptive Sport can help people with disabilities acquire social skills. Like any other team sport, a socialization aspect is critical for the growth and success of a team. It is through social interaction and sharing their life experiences that helps strengthen a team and an individual.

Participation in adaptive sport provides an opportunity to engage in discussions, develop friendships and initiate social skills. Moreover, the peer interaction can build confidence and develop a positive sense of self.

Apart from learning how to communicate effectively, adaptive sport can also help athletes with disabilities learn the significance of teamwork and cooperation, goal-setting, self-discipline, respect for others, and the importance of sportsmanship.

Adaptive Sport serve as an effective means of building knowledge and awareness among peers as it allows large groups to come together and participate in discussions on life skills, disability etiquette, person first language, inclusive healthy communities, and independence.

3. Providing Health Benefits

Getting involved in adaptive sport can lead to several health advantages such as:

  • Good blood circulation, stronger muscles, better balance and coordination. Participation in sports and physical activities can lead to improved levels of physical and emotional health, increased fitness and well-being.
  • Reduced risk of developing a chronic condition such as diabetes, stroke, or heart disease
  • Reduced risk of developing a secondary condition related to the primary disability
  • Increased energy and enhanced strength to enable a person to perform more tasks on their own
  • Prevention of several mental conditions such as depression, trouble adjusting to certain situations, stress and anxiety

4. Developing Skills and Becoming More Independent

Adaptive Sport has the power to develop greater independence by helping individuals become physically and mentally stronger. Moreover, it also promotes social-emotional development and facilitates independence. It leads to an overall improvement in emotional control, social awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-concept, as well as increases motivation. These skills can be transferred to employment, which can further help build self-sufficiency.

Overall, adaptive sport provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop social skills, forge friendships, and take on leadership roles. Through adaptive sport, opportunities to learn essential social interaction skills, develop independence, learn how to manage failure and success and become empowered.


As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the role of adaptive sport has also succeeded in bringing awareness to the importance of making sure there are no barriers to participate. The continued growth of Paralympic games and adaptive sport can become even more successful when communities can become a tool to promote a healthy inclusive environment for all people with disabilities. This can improve the overall health of all people when neighborhoods, communities, and societies embrace the role of adaptive sport. Apart from improving health and guarding against future health-related problems, it can be very fulfilling – a brilliant inclusive activity that can provide a sense of freedom and achievement. Being involved in adaptive sport, either by participation or volunteering, is a great way to improve the overall health of your community by promoting constructive use of time and enabling positive social interactions to developing valuable life skills, it can be a tool to lead a healthy active lifestyle within your community.

Are you involved in any adaptive sports? If yes, how has it impacted your life even in the slightest manner?

Author: Lauri Pete