Adaptive Sports Activities In The US By Cory Lee

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on September 15, 2015 # Adaptive Sports

As more places become attentive to those living with disabilities, adaptive sports seem to be popping up all over the place. Whether you want to go waterskiing, play tennis, or snowboard, there is a place somewhere in the United States for you to participate no matter what your abilities are. Following is a list of locations that will ensure you have an excellent time.

Water Skiing

For this sport, check out SPARC (SPorts, Arts, and Recreation of Chattanooga). This organization is native to Chattanooga, Tennessee and holds an annual adaptive waterskiing event, of which I have participated in myself. They have many options no matter what your needs are, so don't be shy, just ask. Adaptive waterskiing equipment comes outfitted for wheelchair users, amputees, and those with a variety of other special needs. It is amazing to see how many innovations there are in the market! The folks at SPARC work with you to make you feel safe yet allow you to enjoy the thrill of the moment too. Fair warning, you might get wet. Okay, you will definitely get wet and you may even flip under, but that’s all part of the fun and there will be volunteers to dive in and assist you in case you need them.


If waterskiing is not your thing, check out Adaptive Action Sports (AAS), which has a host of activities for you to enjoy. They are located in Colorado and feature, among other things, snowboarding. That's right, you can shred powder with the best of them when you sign up for one of their adaptive snowboarding training sessions. They utilize some of the best certified coaches so you know you are going to learn a lot. Plus, how can you go wrong cruising down the side of a majestic Colorado mountain? They have dates ranging from February to April, so be sure to call ahead and make sure your snowboarding session is available before you head over to the course.

Mountain Biking

In addition, AAS also offers mountain biking during the last half of the month of June. This is one of the best ways to get in touch with nature, and do it in an exhilarating way. For years, mountain biking was seen to be off limits for wheelchair users, but not anymore. They make sure that this is a top-notch activity that you are sure to enjoy. You can try mountain biking with a variety of adaptive equipment, including hand controls.

Zip lining

Continuing our discussion on all things adaptive, why not try out adaptive zip lining. You can find a great course in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The New Zoo Zip Line is one of the area’s best, and will have you feeling like a pro in no time. For years, it was a traditional zip line, but as Green Bay became to be known more and more as a travel destination for those with disabilities, they converted the zip line at the zoo to accommodate disabled guests. There is even a hoist system that can lift you right out of your wheelchair and take you to the top. How cool is that?

There are a host of other places to find adaptive zip lines too. Some of the favorites are the Yosemite Zip Line, as well as the Woodlands Foundation, located near Pittsburgh. Both of these lines are long, with great scenery. The instructors are helpful and really make sure you are familiar with the equipment and concepts before they send you off!!

Free falling

Maybe you want to feel just a bit more free than on a zip line. Well, why not go adaptive skydiving. This is really becoming more and more popular across the country. There are so many great places to go that it is hard to pick just one. However, before you go to any of them, head over to Jagworks Design Adaptive Skydiving. They are an adaptive skydive team from Canada and they really know their stuff. A phone call or email to them can point you in the right direction for adaptive skydiving classes located in the United States.

There are a host of other adaptive activities such as parasailing, tennis, rafting, kayaking, and sailing to name a few. The No Barriers Summit offers all of these activities and is a fantastic conference that takes place every summer for a fun-filled weekend. I attended the most recent Summit in Park City, Utah and enjoyed adaptive rock climbing, fishing, and more. If you want to pack in lots of adventure in a short period of time, the No Barriers Summit is the way to go!

For an ever-growing list of adaptive activities, head over to Disabled Sports USA. They have a lot to offer, and a phone call can answer any questions you may have concerning the availability of adaptive activities in your area. Disabled Sports USA proves a couple of things related to adaptive sports as a whole. The adaptive sports movement is innovative, and it is here to stay!

- Cory Lee,

About Cory

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the US when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned fifteen. Since then, Cory has traveled to fourteen countries, all while managing to successfully graduate college and start up his travel blog, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not so accessible, travel adventures with others. Cory has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, New Mobility Magazine, Lonely Planet, and many others. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.