Although people with disabilities make up a large proportion of our global population and are known to be disproportionately impacted by sedentary lifestyles leading to chronic disease, programs promoting physical activity often fail to address their unique needs. Both environmental and attitudinal factors also act as barriers to full participation. In this context, increasing evidence shows the positive impact of physical activity and sport on outcomes related to physical health, mental health, community participation, and, in some cases, neurorecovery for people with disabilities. Thus, participation should be seen not only as a medical intervention but also as a rights-based issue. We, as physiatrists, can be agents of change by promoting concepts of universal design and inclusion in physical activity and sport programs.
From the Harvard Medical School, Kelley Adaptive Sports Research Institute, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts.
All correspondence should be addressed to: Cheri A. Blauwet, MD, Harvard Medical School, Kelley Adaptive Sports Research Institute, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, 300 1st Ave, Charlestown, MA 02129.
This work was supported by funds from the Kelley Adaptive Sports Research Institute.
Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.