City of Los Angeles sports program for the disabled headed for expansion – Daily News

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The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion on Wednesday, May 11 to create an expanded citywide sports program that includes people with physical disabilities.

The motion was introduced by City Councilors Paul Krekorian and Mitch O’Farrell on March 22.

“Today’s vote means children, transitioning youth, adults and seniors in Los Angeles will soon have the opportunity to participate in low-cost sports programs, regardless of their access needs, their geography or their income,” O’Farrell said after the vote.

The adviser, who played tennis and did gymnastics growing up, spoke of the positive impacts sport can have on people’s lives, saying: “We know that uplifting athletics and exercise provide more great confidence, you learn teamwork, you learn how to resolve conflicts, you set the tone for an active life and you become a more active member of a community and of society in general.

He added: “It is our responsibility as elected officials to give this opportunity to all our young people.”

Following the council’s vote on Wednesday, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Persons with Disabilities will develop a citywide adaptive sports program. The ministries will also issue recommendations for improving the physical accessibility infrastructure of existing or developing facilities.

The motion also calls on 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.

“We will continue to invest in recreation and parks to make sure everyone in the city has these opportunities, but today’s motion ensures we’re highlighting ‘everyone’. Everyone should participate in the sports we offer in our parks,” Krekorian said.

The PlayLA Los Angeles Youth Sports Program, launched in November with support from the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee, includes an adaptive sports program. In 2022-23, its programming for youth with physical disabilities will include sitting volleyball, para-equestrian sports, adaptive swimming, parasurfing, wheelchair basketball, adaptive skateboarding, goalball, athletics adapted, wheelchair tennis and paracanoe. Officials plan to include judo, archery, boccia, tee-ball and rock climbing.

Ignacio “Nacho” Medrano, assistant coach for the U.S. national amputee soccer team and board member of the American Amputee Soccer Association, joined Krekorian and O’Farrell outside City Hall after the vote of Wednesday.

“My story is an example of how a program like this can help overcome life-altering events,” Medrano said. “When I was 15 I was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after that, six months later, my mother passed away. So I was in a very dark place emotionally and physically…programs like this helped me and I am here today.

Medrano said that after his surgery he “became a couch potato”.

“When I discovered amputee football, I was like a child embarking on a candy story. I was so happy,” he added.

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