People with disabilities can be athletes, too.
Wheelchair Sports of the CWSA
In previous years, the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association has served as the national governing body for a wide range of wheelchair sports. Recently, the CWSA, in cooperation with Sport Canada, has pursued a policy of inclusion, which requires sports for athletes with a disability to be administered by the same national sport organization as its able-bodied equivalent.
As a result, most of the sports once administered by CWSA are now governed by the appropriate sport-specific national sport organization, but CWSA continues to be a National advocate for these sports and assists the able-bodied sport groups whenever necessary. Information on these sports can be found by following the links on this site's sport links page. However, at the provincial level and below, these sports are still supported by, and programs delivered through, CWSA's provincial member organizations. A list of these members can be found on this site's contact page.
Opportunities for Athletes with Disabilities
As innovations in sports and physical activities grow, so too do the recreational and competitive opportunities for persons with disabilities. Some people were born with a congenital disability while others acquired theirs later in life. Regardless, all Canadians who pursue sport and physical activity deserve a pathway to help them achieve their goals.
Drivers for Change
Canada has achieved outstanding success in Paralympic sport, Special Olympics, Deaflympics, and other sports for athletes with disabilities. But some limitations still exist. And as our current athletes age, Canada's pool of high-performance athletes is getting smaller.
By creating an LTAD pathway for athletes with disabilities, we can help ensure the longevity of sport and activity for all Canadians with disabilities.
Carrying the Torch
CS4L encourages and helps implement ways in which organizations can take action to enhance sport in Canada. National Sport Organizations (NSOs) and Disability Sport Organizations (DSOs) can ensure program success by incorporating LTAD principles. The Canadian sport system at large also benefits when these organizations collaborate and share their expertise with participants and stakeholders.
Persons with permanent disabilities experience opportunities and challenges in pursuing sport and physical activity. CS4L and LTAD show us how we can accommodate their needs for increased activity and greater achievement.
Everyone should have the opportunities to learn sport skills and become active for life, whether they choose to pursue competition or not. For this reason, almost all of the principles behind Canada’s LTAD model for able-bodied athletes are applicable to athletes with disabilities.
Athletes, coaches, parents, administrators, and health professionals need to consider additional factors in the delivery of sport and physical activity so that athletes with disabilities can follow a high-performance pathway or simply maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.
Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association