LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Councilmen Mitch O'Farrell and Paul Krekorian introduced a motion today aimed at creating a citywide sports program in Los Angeles inclusive of people with physical disabilities.
``I know firsthand how transformative access to sports and athletics can be,'' O'Farrell said.
``I want to make sure that Angelenos of all physical abilities are able to fully use city recreational facilities and participate in sports programming across Los Angeles. Today, we're moving one step closer to ensuring greater equity across our recreation system,'' added O'Farrell, who used to compete in tennis and gymnastics.
If the City Council approves the motion, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department on Disability will be instructed to develop a citywide adaptive sports program. The departments will also issue recommendations for physical accessibility infrastructure improvements for existing facilities or those in development.
``This motion put forth will continue our work in improving our facilities' infrastructure, ensuring our park system is accessible and provides an opportunity to create possibilities for a brighter future to every Angeleno. We look forward to partnering with the Department on Disability on our goal to increase participation in our adaptive sports programs,'' Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull said.
The motion would also have the two departments work with accessibility advocates in Los Angeles and across the United States on how to improve service delivery for adaptive sports citywide.
Los Angeles' PlayLA youth sports program, launched in November, includes an adaptive sports program, and in 2022-23, its programming for youth with physical disabilities will include sitting volleyball, para equestrian, adaptive swimming, para surfing, wheelchair basketball, adaptive skateboarding, goalball, adaptive athletics, wheelchair tennis and para canoe. Officials are considering including judo, archery, boccia, tee ball and climbing.
``Athletes with all abilities should have a place to train, learn and play. The regional team that is based in the Los Angeles area is excited to learn that they will have access to fields to develop the sport of amputee soccer,'' said Dr. Eric Lamberg, president of the American Amputee Soccer Association and Head Coach of the U.S. National Amputee Soccer Team.