athletes are the bottom line
Here in the Chicagoland area, we are fortunate to have a number of organizations that provide adaptive sports opportunities to people with physical disabilities. Along with our fellow adaptive sports programs, we operate under the belief that multiple strong programs create more and better opportunities for athlete development. Although this program density sometimes leads to competition for resources, we focus on working together because athletes are the bottom line. In programs where it makes sense to share resources, coaches and to streamline efforts, we collaborate, such as in our rock climbing program, our Chicagoland Regional Boccia Invitational and our Chicagoland Adaptive Climbing Expo. In programs where it makes sense to compete, we work together to ensure we respectively have growing teams, such as in wheelchair basketball and boccia. Having many teams in the area benefits athletes by having local competition and being able to compete against a wide range of opposing athletes/teams without traveling too far. To broaden this effort, we actively participate in the Midwest Adaptive Sports Committee, a group of adaptive sports professionals that work together to create opportunities in and awareness of adaptive sports in our area.
Chicagoland Adaptive Sports Programs
Adaptive Adventures is a national organization, with their Chicagoland office based in Franklin Park. Adaptive Adventures focuses largely on outdoor sports, including kayaking/canoeing, skiing, dragon boat, rock climbing, and more. They also have a large veteran-specific program. We collaborate with Adaptive Adventures in our Midwest Adaptive Climbing program as well as our Chicagoland Adaptive Climbing Expo. We also collaborate on various archery-cycling combo events and other opportunities.
Contact: Greg Zbrzezny
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (SRALab) is located in the city of Chicago, but serves individuals from around the country. SRALab provides a variety of adaptive sports and fitness opportunities, including hand cycling, sled hockey, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair softball, boccia, archery, golf and veteran-specific opportunities. They also have a youth-specific program named Caring for Kids. We collaborate with SRALab by co-hosting our annual Chicagoland Regional Boccia Invitational tournament, collaborating on the Chicagoland Adaptive Climbing Expo and other events.
Contact: Derek Daniels
Chicago Park District
Chicago Park District adaptive sports serve individuals within the city of Chicago. They collaborate with SRALab on youth wheelchair basketball opportunities as well as wheelchair softball. They also offer archery and are developing other sports opportunities.
Contact: Daniel Ferreira
Lincolnway Special Recreation Association (LWSRA)
LWSRA is located in New Lenox and primarily serves the park districts of Frankfort, Frankfort Square, Manhattan, Mokena, New Lenox, Peotone, Wilmington Island, Monee and Homer Township. They have their own facilities for their primary adaptive sports, including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair football and wheelchair softball.
Contact: Mak Nong
Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA)
GLASA is based in Lake Forest, but provides programming opportunities to the entire Chicagoland region. GLASA provides a multitude of sports opportunities including sled hockey, archery, wheelchair basketball, weight lifting, wheelchair football and excels especially in swimming and track & field. We collaborate with GLASA in a number of ways, including supporting the boccia portion of their Great Lakes Regional Games (GLRG) each year.
Contact: Cindy Housner
Rockford Park District
Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation (MNASR)
MNASR hosts a boccia team as well as social programs for individuals with primary physical disabilities.