Gyms, clubs and recreation centers
The Costco warehouse in Orem, Utah, boasts a
celebrity jock of its own. When Josh Wheeler is not
helping customers in electronics, he is often honing
his skills as a Paralympian on the U.S. Wheelchair
Rugby Team. Wheelchair rugby packs as much
speed, excitement and rough play as football, since
contact is an integral part of the game. Wheeler
practices his moves at a local university basketball
court. But when he wants to get an upper-body
workout at local gyms, “you can’t get at the equip-
ment from a wheelchair,” he says. “I’m quadriplegic,
and even if I transfer myself from the chair to the
small seats on the equipment, I need back support
and the seats don’t have it.”
Bauer says he’s heard similar stories but that
things are changing. “More facilities are realizing
that making reasonable accommodations for dis-
abled clients is good business and actually a way to
attract more customers,” he says.
clients is good
actually a way
to attract more
MORE THAN ABLE
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43
For outdoor adaptive soccer, often played by those missing one or more limbs, players need excellent cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and balance. Indoor adaptive soccer is most often played by users of manual or power wheelchairs, depending on the level of ability.
To participate on the U.S.
Wheelchair Rugby Team,
Costco employee Josh
Wheeler (below) says that
LOREN WOR THINGTON
What’s reasonable? According to the ADA, it
depends on a variety of factors, including the size
and type of the facility, and interpretations are still
evolving. At a minimum, it could mean making
space for a wheelchair to pass, a toe strap that allows
an amputee to use a stationary bicycle or lift-access
in a pool for guests who are unable to get in and out
of the water unassisted. Some access improvements
may be eligible for a federal tax credit or deduction.
What isn’t reasonable is denying fitness opportunities to disabled clients out of the fear they pose
an increased liability risk, Bauer says. “The facts
don’t back up this fear, and, in any case, many facilities require all of their clients to sign a liability
release form as a condition of participation or membership,” he notes.
Some facilities (see “Connections” for resources)
Alpine skiing for the blind or visually impaired includes a sighted guide who describes the surroundings and provides verbal instructions via two-way radio.
have gone beyond ADA requirements to create
environments based on principles of universal
design. This approach considers how architecture,
products and services can be used to the greatest
extent possible by everyone, regardless of age or
ability. Pools with built-in ramps and exercise
equipment with swing-out seats (to accommodate
wheelchairs, for example) are among the features
that most clients can use.
Bauer agrees there’s a growing acceptance that
disability is a part of life and that it doesn’t define
individuals, their health or their talents and abilities.
He says, “Now let’s provide the tools for people with
disabilities to get out there and participate!” C
Susan Hirshorn is a frequent contributor to The