The 2019 conference was the largest ever! Special thank you to our presenting sponsors the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Bob Woodruff Foundation for making training and education accessible to adaptive sports providers.
The Adapt2Achieve Leadership Conference is a unique educational opportunity that aims to develop and strengthen the adaptive sport industry. We brought together 200 individuals representing over 100 organizations, including chapters of Disabled Sports USA, VA Medical Centers, National Governing Bodies, and other community-based sport and recreation organizations. The event was loaded with opportunities for learning, networking, and perhaps most notably, fun!
The conference featured two tracks, each with a goal of Advancing Adaptive Sports. One track focused on the relationship between Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, engineering and adaptive sports to highlight some of the latest technology and techniques being developed to support adaptive athletes in sport, and look at how the adaptive sports industry intersects with medical interventions. The other track was dedicated to best practices for risk management and features opportunities for hands-on, practical training exercises.
Top 5 Highlights
5 The Opening Reception featured all things pickles!
Pickleball activities were hosted by DSUSA chapter Rochester Accessible Adventures and local partner Pickled Power. A pickleball starter set was the grand prize for the social media contest that evening. Judy Morrison from DSUSA chapter Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports was our lucky winner!
4 Attendees had many opportunities for experiential learning out in the community, on the water, and using various pieces of adaptive equipment.
The EquiCenter Farm Tour featured the various services offered for disabled veterans including Mission Mustang, a national pilot program where veterans work to gentle wild horses under the guidance of renowned mustang trainers. The EquiCenter Farm is also home to one of the first Therapeutic Horticulture and Advanced Vocational programming for veterans, in partnership with the Canandaigua VA Medical Center.
3 DSUSA chapter Cape Ability Outrigger Ohana hosted a luau with lots of fun activities for attendees! Special thanks to Camp Abilities Brockport for generously loaning the “conference bike”! This was a big hit, and everyone looked great cruising around in their Aloha attire.
2 Executive Director Glenn Merry introduced DSUSA’s Athlete Protection Policy.
Disabled Sports USA has been working to create a system to ensure our chapter network follows best practices to protect our athletes. Glenn’s session outlined the new program DSUSA will launch in 2020. His session was complemented by additional information provided by leading experts on abuse prevention, including Patty Lewis of the Beau Biden Foundation and Ashley Thomas from DSUSA chapter BridgeIISports.
1 Emerging technologies that are advancing adaptive sport were highlighted in numerous sessions and the vendor showcase.
Attendees had the opportunity to experience a “scavenger hunt” with Microsoft Soundscape, play virtual reality games, and one lucky winner went home with a 360 camera! Various other adaptive equipment was featured, including cycling and paddling gear available for attendees to demo.
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These programs are funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.