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Providing community-based adaptive sports to improve the quality of life of those living with SCI

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 100 K
Funding amount
Providing community-based adaptive sports to improve the quality of life of those living with SCI

Founded in 1967, Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) provides individuals with disabilities opportunities to develop independence, confidence and fitness through participation in adaptive sports. DSUSA is among the nation’s largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, annually serving 60,000 youth and adults with disabilities, including 5,000-7,000 individuals with SCI. As a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, DSUSA employs sports to provide individuals with disabilities the skills needed to achieve a healthy, active lifestyle, translating to success in all areas of life. DSUSA offers programs in 50 adaptive sports through its network of 126 community-based chapters in 40 states.

This project will provide at least 300 youth and adults with traumatic of chronic SCI opportunities to participate in sports through adaptive sports camps, clinics, practices, competitions and equipment use. Opportunities will be provided in 20 adaptive sports in 8 communities in 6 states through DSUSA’s chapter network. Adaptive sports programs, including adaptive equipment, instruction and accessible facilities will be provided. In addition, an innovative, SCI-specific adaptive sports instructor training track will be made available in partnership with Professional Ski Instructors of America.

The project’s purpose is to provide individuals with SCI adaptive sports opportunities that lead to increased quality of life and independence. Measurable expected outcomes include:
1. 300 youth and adults with SCI will participate in adaptive sports in eight communities in six states in CY2019. Participants will be offered adaptive sports programs for an average duration of four months during CY2019, leading to ongoing participation post-program. At least 20 different adaptive sports will be offered.
2. At least 80% of participants completing end of program surveys will report increased self-confidence and fitness.
3. Six communities will be provided adaptive sports equipment, allowing people with SCI to participate in adaptive sports such as power soccer, handcycling, water skiing, tennis and basketball with family and friends.
4. At least 20 adaptive sports organizations will participate in a SCI-specific instructor training.

Arts, Sports and Recreation category
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that participation in adaptive sports leads to improved quality of life, increased community involvement and increased independence for individuals living with SCI. In 2009, DSUSA commissioned Harris Interactive to independently conduct a survey of 1,000 people with disabilities that revealed that people who participated in DSUSA programs reported significantly "greater life satisfaction and are more sociable and positive about their life prospects.”
(CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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    1117 Public Health and Health Services

  • RCDC

    Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects

  • RCDC

    Injury - Trauma - (Head and Spine)

  • Health Research Areas