Adaptive Sports or Parasports or Sports for Persons with Disabilities
are sports played by persons with disabilities, including physical and intellectual disabilities. As many disabled sports are based on existing able bodied sports, modified to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, they are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. However, not all disabled sports are adapted; several sports that have been specifically created for persons with disabilities have no equivalent in non-disabled sports.
Organization and history
Organized sport for athletes with disabilities is generally divided into three broad disabilities groups: the deaf, people with physical disabilities, and people with intellectual disabilities. Each group has a distinct history, organization, competition program, and approach to sport.
Since 1988, the International Olympic Committee has chosen to validate Disabled Sports (physical disabilities) and incorporate it as a part of the Games: the staging of the Paralympic Games immediately follows the Olympic Games. This scheduling helps to foster greater interest in disabled sports and to recognize the sport of athletes with disabilities for their efforts and sacrifices.
Sports for Persons with Visual Impairments
Formal international competition in deaf sport began with the 1924 Paris Silent Games, organized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds, CISS (The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf). The games began as a small gathering of 148 athletes from nine European nations competing in the International Silent Games in Paris. Later these games evolved into the modern Deaflympics, governed by the CISS.
The Deaflympics are held every four years. The first games, held in Paris in 1924, were also the first ever international sporting event for athletes with disabilities. The event has been held every four years since, apart from a break for World War II.
The 2005 Summer Deaflympics, held in Melbourne (Australia), registered 2,300 athletes from 75 countries. The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (CISS) maintains separate games for deaf athletes based on their numbers, their special communication needs on the sports field, and the social interaction that is a vital part of sports.
Sport for Persons with Physical Disabilities
Organized sport for persons with physical disabilities was introduced as a key part of rehabilitation. The pioneer of this approach was Sir Ludwig Guttmann of the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England who treated World War II veterans and has become paralyzed. To promote the rehabilitation of persons with physical disabilities, various sports games were organized including, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair netball and shooting. The Stoke Mandeville Games, organized in 1948, have led the way in the founding of the Paralympic Games in 1960. Currently, Paralympic sport is governed by the International Paralympic Committee, in conjunction with a wide range of other international sport organizations.
Today, there are numerous sport opportunities for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball can be practiced by persons without disabilities. This is an important step for integrating the sport of the persons with disabilities into the regular sport practiced by persons without disabilities, but this step has not yet completed. Actually, in the opinion of many athletes with disabilities, there are many people who care in the first place about disabilities rather than sport.
Sports for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
Sports for persons with intellectual disabilities was stated in 1960 by the Special Olympics. The competitions for persons with intellectual disabilities began during the summer camps organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1962. Moreover, the First International Special Olympics was held in 1968 in Chicago.
In 1986, the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (INAS-FID) was formed to support elite competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This was established in contrast to the more participative, “sport for all” approach of Special Olympics. In fact, INAS, in its true sense is the competition with approval criteria to witness the actual state of mental disabilities. Athletes with intellectual disabilities were able to participate in the Paralympic Games until the year 2000.
For a time, athletes with intellectual disabilities were included in the Paralympic Games. After a cheating scandal at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney, where the Spanish basketball team consisting of 10 from 12 players participating in intellectual disabilities events were disclosed to not be disabled, INAS-FID athletes were banned from Paralympic competition, but the ban on intellectually disabled athletes has since been lifted as a result of the great efforts made by the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (l’INAS-FID) The Paralympic Games are equivalent to the GLOBAL GAMES which were held in 2004 in Sweden and held in 2009 in the Czech Republic. This event brought together 2000 athletes to the following sports: athletics, swimming, table tennis, judo (in 2009), basketball and football.