Professor Abrams Urges Including Persons With Disabilities in Youth Sports

For the past ten years, Professor Douglas E. Abrams has written nearly 300 essays for leading youth sports websites. His most recent essay, Lessons From a Player and a Coach Who Have Overcome Disabilities, tells the stories of a 14-year-old Texas high school football quarterback and a 30-year-old California junior varsity head coach. The player competes on racing blades because when he was a toddler, both his legs were amputated above the knees from a congenital condition. The coach, who led his team to an 8-2 finish last season, leads from a motorized wheelchair because he was born without arms or legs.
The player and the coach have each been accepted and praised by teammates and opponents. Professor Abrams draws this conclusion: “To the maximum extent possible, leagues and teams should include persons with physical challenges if their abilities permit, if (in a player’s case) the player’s parents approve, and if inclusion does not change the character of the game or compromise safety. . . . Inclusion is good for players and coaches, and it is good for America.”
The New Hampshire Union Leader has called Professor Abrams “one of the people who help serve as the conscience for anyone involved in youth sports.” He recently received the Excellence In Safety Award from USA Hockey, the sport’s national governing body.