National Park Week

If you were inspired by Earth Day this past Sunday and want another reason to enjoy the treasures of our great outdoor spaces, what better excuse than National Parks Week! This April 21 – 29 has been designated as National Park Week –– a chance to hike, learn, share, and give back in the nation’s 397 national parks. Here’s a remarkable opportunity to explore just some of the 84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures. And it get’s better, admission is FREE all week long! If you would like more information on how the National Parks Service has worked to make our parks accessible and inclusive, please visit the NPS accessibility page at: http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/indes.htmHappy Exploring!

More on National Parks Week from our Friends with Let’s Move

 

Posted in Blog |

Ann Cody testifies before U.S. House of Representatives

BlazeSports’ Director of Policy Testifies Before US House of
Representatives Judiciary Committee on
The Department of Justice’s Guidance on Access to Pools and Spas Under the ADA

 

Click Here for hearing information and transcripts

On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, Ann Cody, BlazeSports Director of Policy and Global Outreach, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary during a hearing on The Department of Justice’s Guidance on Access to Pools and Spas Under the ADA.

Two recently introduced bills would prevent the Department of Justice from enforcing its own regulations and keep public pools  from being accessible as required by the ADA. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution hearing today is to discuss this legislation.

During her testimony today, Ann will share her professional experience from more than twenty years in recreation and sports industry including her work with BlazeSports assisting communities across the country and the world with providing access to sports and recreation for people with disabilities.  A wheelchair user herself, Ann described the challenges of finding exercise options – particularly while traveling – and the benefits offered by swimming.

As Ann notes in her testimony, “just as for anyone, being physically active is critically important for people with disabilities. We are among the most sedentary, most obese minority groups in the country.  Physical activity significantly enhances our physical, mental, social, and emotional wellbeing.” In fact, obesity rates for adults and children with disabilities are 57% and 38% higher, respectively, than rates for adults and children without disabilities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  Swimming is a highly desirable activity for many people with mobility impairments (more than 13 million Americans who use a wheelchair, walker, cane or other aid to assist in mobility) including returning veterans, as it enables individuals with disabilities to move freely with fewer limitations (U.S. Census).

For more information on the hearing, including the full witness list, visit: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/Hearings%202012/hear_04242012.html.
For more information on this issue, or to learn how you can weigh in on the topic with your elected officials, please contact Ann Cody at acody@blazesports.org

Posted in Blog, Featured |

Once You See It!

FIBA columnist Steve Goldberg provides excellent insight into the world of wheelchair basketball through his column Wheel World that is featured on the FIBA website.  In a recent article Steve was able to explain a metamorphosis that takes place in various NBA arenas around the country every year.  No, it is not the burgeoning rookie posterizing an NBA legend and staking his claim to future stardom.  Rather, he captures the transformation of a crowd during a half time wheelchair basketball demonstration from a group of polite, onlookers applauding the ability of a few people in wheelchairs to show themselves in public into a pack of sports fans thunderously celebrating the athleticism of people playing basketball, albeit a little differently from their NBA counterparts.

As with most Paralympic sports, it only takes the opportunity to see the sport to quickly forget about the wheelchair, the prosthetic limb, or the guide runner and focus on the athlete and appreciate the countless hours of practice and the sacrifices that went into preparing for competition.  With the London 2012 Olympic Games set to begin in 105 days, there will be plenty of opportunity to  witness and appreciate the Olympic athletes through countless hours of live and recorded broadcasts on NBC and its  affiliated networks.  But will we see one hour of Paralympic sport broadcast live?  Will the best athletes in the world competing on wheels, with prosthetics, with impaired or no vision have their time in prime time?  Will the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, gold medalists in 2004 & 2008, defend their title in front of a national audience?  There is the possibility, but we need to let NBC know that there is indeed a market for Paralympic sport!

If you would like to let NBC know that you want to see Paralympic sport, you can contact them here.  Let NBC know that we are a nation of sport lovers and the Paralympic Games are just that, sport, at the highest level.

Posted in Blog |

High School Athletic Associations’ Age-Limit Rules and Student with Disabilities

The Michigan High School Athletic Association weighs its age-limit rule as a Michigan family submitted a third request on March 26 to reconsider an exception for an age-rule to enable their son – currently a high school junior  – to continue participating in high school athletics next year. The Michigan High School Athletic Association currently bars students who are 19 as of Sept. 1 from participating in sports for that school year. The youth, who has Down Syndrome, turned 19 in January. The family has suggested the state amend its requirements to mirror language used in Ohio and seven other states that include age-rule exceptions for students with disabilities.  To read more about their story, click here. What do you think of this rule and the family’s exception request?  Please visit this post on our Facebook page to share your comments.

Posted in Blog |