Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

After much anticipation, last week the Obama Administration sent the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the United States Senate for its advice and consent for ratification. After signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on July 30, 2009, the United States now hopes to become the 113th nation to ratify the treaty.  Fortunately, our nation has already established strong support for the rights of people with disabilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its 2008 amendments.  The Convention now requires a “resolution of ratification” achieved by 2/3 support (67 supermajority vote) in Senate.

The CRPD is the first international treaty to address disability rights globally.  While the Convention does not establish new human rights, it does set out greater clarity of the obligations on States to promote, protect and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. Article 3 of the CRPD sets out the General Principles that apply to the enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities which include:

· Non-discrimination

· Full and effective participation and inclusion in society

· Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity

· Equality of opportunity

· Accessibility

As of May 2012, the Convention has 153 signatories and 112 ratifications. Key U.S. allies such as Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, and many countries in Europe have already ratified the


For more information on the CRPD we encourage you to view a fantastic presentation delivered by Esmé Grant, JD,  Disability Rights Educator at the U.S. International Council on Disability ( during the BlazeSports 11th Annual Conference on Paralympic Sport and Physical Activity. As Ms. Grant’s presentation details, the CRPD demonstrates a shift in the disability rights structure from previous charitable and medical models to a
more inclusive social framework.  The treaty also sets out greater clarity of the obligations of nations to promote, protect and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities including a right to participation in sport and recreation (Article 30).  As the United States moves towards ratification of this historic treaty, it is important to have a better understanding of the CRPD and how the U.S. can play a significant role in its implementation.

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BlazeSports Announces June Professional Development Webinar Series Schedule


On June 13th BlazeSports and the NRPA will present 5
Ways to Make Your Park and Rec Program More Inclusive and Accessible

your Webinar seat now at:

BlazeSports and the National Recreation and Park Association are pleased to present this session featuring Larry Labiak, Disability Policy Officer for the Chicago Park District.

Obesity rates for adults and children with disabilities are 57% and 38% higher, respectively, than rates for adults and children without disabilities according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reasons for this health disparity vary, including a lack of lack of accessible environments, lack of trained professionals, lack of nutritious food options, physical limitation, and lack of resources among. During this webinar, we will explore how park and recreation departments can make their programs more  inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities and open up a whole new world of physical activity, recreation, and outdoor sport opportunities.

Presenter Larry Labiak will discuss best practices in five areas:

1. Innovative Programming

2. Policies

3. Staff Training

4. Transportation

5. Equipment/Facilities


On June 20th BlazeSports and the  NWBA will present Effective Assessment Techniques for Successful  Athlete, Team and Program Development.

your Webinar seat now at:

BlazeSports and the National Wheelchair Basketball Association are pleased to provide this session that will help adaptive sport  coaches and program directors understand the importance of assessment as a tool  to enhance athlete development, team success and program growth. Simple,  effective assessment tools help create program participants who are engaged in  and focused on program goals.

Presenter Doug Garner, M.S., M.Ed., Head Wheelchair  Basketball Coach at the University of Texas-Arlington will discus best  practices in development through the use of assessment tools.

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Are you Physically Active? No Time Like the Present to Start!

With the weather getting warmer and Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial start to summer – soon upon us, what better time to make a commitment to physical fitness? How fitting then, that May is both National Physical Fitness and Sport Month and Exercise is Medicine Month! BlazeSports invites you to join us in making a commitment to physical activity this month and throughout the summer.

All individuals need health care and a good health regimen to stay well and actively participate in the community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are many health implications for being overweight. Among the increased risks are: greater risk of hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, asthma, and other respiratory problems. For an individual with a disability, understanding how to prevent illness and manage these secondary health conditions is an important part of healthy living.

Physical activity at all ages reduces risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Physically active children, including children with disabilities, are more likely to thrive academically and socially. Physically active children also learn how to incorporate safe and healthy activities into their lives. For adults, physical activity can reduce the risks of secondary health conditions and pain as well as depression.

In 2008 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to provide information and guidance on the types and amounts of physical activity that provide substantial health benefits for all Americans aged 6 years and older. The report recognizes that one of the most important steps any individual can take to achieve better health is becoming physically active. If you aren’t familiar with the guidelines, we encourage you to use this month’s designation as an impetus to get in the game!

Key Guidelines for Individuals with Disabilities:
• Adults with disabilities, who are able to, should get at least 150 minutes per week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) per week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
• Adults with disabilities, who are able to, should also do muscle strengthening activities of moderate or high intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days per week as these activities provide additional health benefits.
• Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily. Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week. Children and adolescents should include muscle strengthening physical activity and bone strengthening physical activity at least 3 days a week.
• When individuals with disabilities are not able to meet the above Guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity.
• All individuals should consult their healthcare provider about the amounts and types of physical activity that are
appropriate for their abilities.
For more, visit:

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Ann Cody Among 40 Women Honored For Impact During 40 years of Title IX

On May 17th, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), in collaboration with espnW and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), released its 40 FOR 40 list of forty women who made a significant impact on society after playing sports in high school or college during the forty years of the Title IX era. BlazeSports’ Director of Policy and Global Outreach, Ann Cody, was honored as one of the forty women chosen for her contributions.

Ann has been a Washington veteran and Paralympic sport expert for more than two decades serving in various capacities including federal affairs, Paralympic Games management, and as an athlete. Her work on behalf of BlazeSports America and the disability sport movement has significantly increased awareness in Congress and the Executive Branch of the benefits of sports and physical activity for people with disabilities and led to an increased federal commitment to these programs. Ann serves on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board and is the highest ranking American and highest ranking woman in the IPC worldwide. She is also a Paralympic Gold Medalist in Athletics and competed on three U.S. Paralympic Teams (Basketball ’84, Athletics ’88, ’92).

Ann is widely known and respected throughout the world as a leader in sport and human rights. She has led a number of national and international advocacy initiatives on sport with a focus on girls and women with disabilities. Through her leadership, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) established a policy on gender equity and several initiatives aimed at increasing participation by women in Paralympic sport and the movement. Within the United States, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was landmark legislation requiring schools and colleges receiving federal money in any education program or activity to provide the same opportunities for girls as they provide for boys. According to WSF, Title IX has resulted in growth of girls participating in high school sports from 1 in 27 in 1972 to about 2 in 5 today. Title IX has not only made its impact felt in terms of athletic participation, but in educational opportunities for girls and women. According to several studies, the combination of the two has produced significant long-term educational, health and economic benefits for women.

BlazeSports America is proud to be a part of the advancements that have been made over the last forty years in creating new opportunities for women and girls to participate in sport in physical activity. We invite you to join us on the BlazeSports America Facebook page in thanking Ann for all her hard work to increase sport and physical activity opportunities for all individuals! Congratulations to all the honorees!

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Dixie Games to Come Home to Atlanta

BlazeSports America is pleased to announce that in 2013 and 2014 the Dixie Games will return home to Atlanta.  After three great years in Tampa, BlazeSports America and the Shepherd Center are honored to bring the games back to Georgia.
As we look back on our experience in the “Sunshine State,” we remark on the dedicated staff and volunteers we’ve met, the great competition we’ve witnessed, and most importantly the exceptional athletes we’ve cheered along the way. Hats off to Andy Chasanoff, Arleen Sand, Randy and Pam Chiavaroli, Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay and the Tampa Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for all they have done to make the games such a success.  The events were once again well organized, on time, staffed with excellent officials and held at great facilities.  We would also like to extend a big thank you to the corps of friendly and plentiful volunteers that helped make the Games such a success. From the registration process and follow up confirmation of events, to the onsite posting of results, the behind the scenes administration was exceptional. In fact, throughout the entire competition it was apparent that the main goal of the event and focus of the officials and volunteers was the individual success of each athlete, whether that athlete was a first timer or a Paralympian.

Our decision to pursue bringing the games back to Georgia was made easy due to the foundation on which the Dixie Games have been built. The Dixie Games dedicated Board of Directors, talented technical volunteers and countless athletes have all contributed to a world class sporting competition.  Congratulations to BlazeSports Director of Training, Education and Certification, Dan Humphreys who was elected Chairperson of the Dixie Wheelchair Athletic Association (DWAA).  Dan has served on the DWAA BOD since 2009 and is looking forward to his new role as well as hosting the Games in Atlanta.

As the Dixie Games return home and as Tampa passes the torch to BlazeSports and the Shepherd Center, we acknowledge that we have big shoes to fill. Our pledge is to maintain the high standards set by the Tampa LOC with respect to event management, facilities, officials and volunteers.  BlazeSports looks forward to hosting the Dixie Games and continuing the strong tradition that so many folks have made possible. And we hope to see you cheering on next year’s athletes in Georgia!

For more on the Dixie Games, including a history of the games and this year’s results, please visit:

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Blazers Take on Dixie Games!

BlazeSports America made a little history this weekend by entering their first junior and adult combined track and field team in the Dixie Games.  Five juniors and four veterans with disabilities traveled to Tampa for the annual Dixie Games. BlazeSports traditionally served children and young adults, until 2009 when the organization began working with US Paralympics and the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide programs to Georgia veterans with disabilities.

The junior squad kicked off Saturday’s competition with field events.  All five athletes were competing to qualify for the National Junior Disability Championships in Meza, AZ in July.  Curran Brown, Josh Joines, Bryan Powell, Cameron Elzey, and Collin Lancaster competed in shot put, discus, and javelin disciplines.  Results from the field events competition are as follows:

Junior Blazers Shot put Discus Javelin
Curran Brown 5.17 9.76 11.35
Cameron Elzey 3.11 5.80 7.27
Josh Joines 5.74 13.03 14.68
Collin Lancaster 3.23 6.03 7.44
Bryan Powell 4.86 10.92 10.79


Bryan Powell competing in the F33 shotput scores a 4.86 meter performance.

Collin Lancaster records a 6.03 meter throw in the discus in the U11 division.


Curran Brown had a winning javelin throw of 11.35 mters.

The Blazers were busy during the track and field session of the event as well. The junior athletes raced in the 100m, 200m, and 400m events. Veterans Rodney Roscoe and Ce-Ce Mazych competed in track as well as field events while Darrell Fisher and Marvin Brown rounded out the team’s effort in the shot put, discus and javelin. Blazer’s Track Results:

100 m

200 m

400 m

Collin Lancaster




Cameron Elzey




Josh Joines




Bryan Powell




Curran Brown




Ce-Ce Mazych



Rodney Roscoe


*Qualifies for NJDC

Despite head winds the junior Blazers qualified for the National Junior Disability Championships in 7 out of 15 track events and everyone on the team qualified in the field disciplines. On the adult side, Ce-Ce Mazych former Army Airborne, worked to improve her standing as a US Paralympic emerging military athlete in field events while racing in only her second track meet. Ce-Ce is taking advantage of BlazeSports’ Equipment Loan Program borrowing a racing wheelchair while she explores wheelchair racing as a sport.

Ce-Ce Mazych, former Army Airborne paratrooper, competing in the shotput.

Air Force veteran Darrell Fisher experimented with a new throwing chair in the field events.  Darrell and Ce-Ce travel to Arizona and Oklahoma for upcoming competitions as they prepare for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in June.  Marvin Brown and Rodney Roscoe competed in their first ever Dixie Games.

Rodney Roscoe, former Marine, competes in the javelin for the first time.

Darrell Fisher using a new model Eagle throwing chair.


On Sunday, Collin Lancaster and Cameron Elzey competed in their first ever swim meet as members of the Georgia Blazers Swim Team.  Collin swam in the U11 division 25 Free in a time 42.44 and the 25 Back in 53.18. Cameron represented the Blazers in the U14 division and recorded a time of 45.6 in the 25 Free and a 45.07 in the 25 Back.  Both Collin and Cameron qualified for NJDC in their swim events. For complete results visit the Dixie Games website at:

Curran Brown and Ce-Ce Nazych each received special recognition for their efforts this weekend as the Dixie Games Organizing Committee presented each athlete with the Spirit of Excellence Award.  Recipients of this award are selected for exceptional effort, sportsmanship, knowledge of the sport, and effectiveness as role models. Ce-Ce was honored as the adult female athlete in field and Curran received the award for the junior female athlete in track. Congratulations to Ce-Ce and Curran on this recognition.

Curran Brown received the Spirit of Excellence Award.

Ce-Ce Mazych received the Spirit of Excellence Award.

In 2013 the Dixie Games will return to Georgia and BlazeSports will serve as host. For more information about the Dixie Games visit their website via the link above. For information about being a volunteer for the 2013 Dixie Games please contact Jeff Jones at

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BlazeSports Participates in Leadership Conference on International Disability Rights

BlazeSports’ Director of Policy and Global Outreach, Ann Cody joins other select leaders of human rights and development organizations at a The Leadership Conference on International Disability Rights being hosted by the U.S. State Department. 

The purpose of the conference is to identify challenges and opportunities for collaboration of international disability rights promotion, particularly in support of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The conference brings together leaders of key civil society organizations engaged in international human rights and development work.

During the conference, expert panels and participant breakout sessions will examine the nature and scope of effective advocacy for international disability rights and inclusive development work, and challenges and opportunities for State Department-civil society collaboration in disability rights promotion and inclusion.

For more on the conference, visit the Department of State website at:

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