Best Practices Released to U.S. Schools for Implementing, Managing Interscholastic Adapted Team Sports

Submitted By: American Association of Adapted Sports Programs

A Step-By-Step Manual To Achieving Athletic Equity

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, November 23, 2015 – The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP), the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) announced today the nationwide release of the “Best Practices In Education-Based Athletics for Students with Physical Disabilities Through Interscholastic Adapted Team Sports.” The Best Practices will better equip educators on “how to” offer extracurricular adapted team sports for students with physical disabilities, as an inclusive part of their school athletic programs, thereby extending the same benefits to “America’s Sidelined Kids” as have commonly been enjoyed by athletes without disabilities.

“This collaborative project between AAASP, the NFHS and the NIAAA comes after years of working to increase and enhance athletic opportunity for this underserved student population. In essence, it furthers the objectives of the “Dear Colleague Letter” issued in 2013 by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education regarding the schools’ obligation to include students with disabilities in athletics.” Bev Vaughn-Co-Founder, Executive Director, American Association of Adapted Sports Programs.

“We are so pleased to partner with the AAASP and the NIAAA to provide our state associations and their member schools with these ‘Best Practices’ for meeting the needs of students with physical disabilities in education--based athletics.  We believe this will promote participation, foster inclusion and better serve young people in our schools.  We look forward to continued growth in this important area of high school sports.” Bob Gardner, Executive Director, National Federation of State High School Associations

“The NIAAA strives to provide our member athletic administrators the best available resources as they administrate programs for the coaches and students in their schools. Our partnership with AAASP has provided the NIAAA with more resources to give our membership. This document is a great tool to guide athletic administrators in providing for those students athletes with physical disabilities who wish to participate in the school sports programs.” Bruce Whitehead, Executive Director, National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association

Highlights for educators within the Best Practices are:
•    How to conduct a statewide needs assessment to determine the most reasonable number and placement of programs in your state;
•    Strategies involving team formation by school district, system or cooperative rather than by individual schools in order to cast the widest possible net of opportunity, thus also reducing the cost of programming through shared resources and responsibility;
•    Components of Adapted Team Sports that address: Management, safety, transportation, equipment, coaching, and funding.

Among those praising the release of this detailed approach to developing and managing adapted sports programs in Americas schools are the American College of Sports Medicine, BlazeSports America and Hall of Fame Olympic/Paralympic athlete, Jean Driscoll.

The Best Practices document is available for download at under the Resources tab.


The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a not-for-profit association dedicated to developing interscholastic adapted sports programs in partnership with national, state, and local educational agencies. It represents a standardized approach to extracurricular adapted team sports and has developed one of the nation’s most comprehensive school-based athletic programs for students with physical disabilities attending grades 1-12. Rules, teaching guides and other resources for educators are free and downloadable at Join our conversations on Facebook or on Twitter at: @AdaptedSports.

About NFHS
Since 1920, The National Federation of State High School Associations has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and activities that help students succeed in their lives. We set directions for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS, from its offices in Indianapolis, Indiana, serves its 50 member state high school athletic/activity associations, plus the District of Columbia. The NFHS publishes playing rules in 16 sports for boys and girls competition and administers fine arts programs in speech, theater, debate and music. It provides a variety of program initiatives that reach the 18,500 high schools and over 11 million students involved in athletic and activity programs.

The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association preserves, enhances and promotes educational-based athletics through the professional development of interscholastic athletic administrators. As a recognized accredited educational institution committed to leadership programs, resources, and service opportunities, the Association supports the athletic administrator’s effort in providing quality athletic participation opportunities for students.

Tags: Disability Issues, Adaptive Sports, Paralympics

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