A History of Disability or Differently Abled Sport

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A History of Disability or Differently Abled Sport

Although persons with different abilities have been involved in organized sports for at least 100 years, it is only very recently that they gained any level
of recognition for such participation (DePauw. 1995).


Below are Excerpts from an Excellent Resource on the History of Disability Sport excepted from Sports N Spokes magazine (Vol 25, no 9, pp 10-45). Although
some names and events may be unfamiliar, it provides only a small cross-section of the diverse people and events of disability sports . Feel free to follow
the Sports ‘N Spokes link for further detail.

  • 1946 Generally considered the birth year for wheelchair sports as World War II Veterans became involved in sports with the primary emphasis on wheelchair
    basketball. Many of these sports evolved from the Stoke Mandeville Sports Centre in Ashbury England founded by neurologist, Sir Ludwig Guttman, often considered
    the father of wheelchair sports. The Center hosted the first international wheelchair competition.
  • 1973 Sports N Spokes magazine founded
  • 1975 First woman’s wheelchair basketball tournament; Bob Hall first to wheel in Boston marathon; National Wheelchair Officials Association Organized
  • 1976 Olympiad held in Toronto, Canada for paraplegic, blind and amputee athletes in separate divisions
  • 1977 First intercollegiate wheelchair basketball tournament; Sharon Rahn Hedrick first woman to wheel Boston Marathon; first wheelchair softball tournament.
  • 1978 National Wheelchair Athletic Association relaxes competitive wheelchair regulations and custom wheelchairs used in competition for the first time at
    the National Wheelchair Games; US Olympic Committee forms handicapped in sports committee
  • 1980 Sled skiers compete for the first time; Olympics for the Disabled in Holland for Paraplegics, Amputees; First wheelchair tennis national tournament.Read More…………….