LA city councilors introduce motion to expand city’s adaptive sports programming

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Los Angeles City Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell and Paul Krekorian introduced a motion on Tuesday to create a citywide sports program in Los Angeles that includes people with physical disabilities.

“I know firsthand how transformative access to sports and athletics can be,” O’Farrell said.

“I want to ensure that Angelenos of all physical abilities are able to make full use of city recreation facilities and participate in athletic programs throughout Los Angeles. Today we are one step closer to greater equity in our recreation system,” added O’Farrell, who has previously competed in tennis and gymnastics.

If the city council approves the motion, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Persons with Disabilities will be responsible for developing a citywide adaptive sports program. The ministries will also issue recommendations for improving the physical accessibility infrastructure of existing or developing facilities.

“This motion presented will continue our work of improving the infrastructure of our facilities, ensuring the accessibility of our parks system and providing the opportunity to create possibilities for a better future for every Angeleno. We look forward to partnering with the Department of Persons with Disabilities in our goal to increase participation in our adaptive sports programs,” said Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull.

The motion would also require the two departments to work with accessibility advocates in Los Angeles and across the United States on how to improve service delivery for disability sports across the city.

Los Angeles’ PlayLA youth sports program, launched in November, includes an adaptive sports program, and in 2022-23 its programming for youth with physical disabilities will include sitting volleyball, para-equestrian, Adaptive Swimming, Para-Surfing, Wheelchair Basketball, Adaptive Skateboarding, Goalball, Adaptive Athletics, Wheelchair Tennis and Paracanoeing. Officials plan to include judo, archery, boccia, tee-ball and rock climbing.

“Athletes of all abilities should have a place to train, learn and play. The regional team based in the Los Angeles area are delighted to learn that they will have access to land to develop the sport of football for amputees,” said Dr. Eric Lamberg, president of the American Amputee Soccer Association and head coach of the United States National Amputee Soccer Team.

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