Creating Equal Access for Athletes

You have heard it before, and you will hear it again (at least a few more times)-

Staying active keeps you happy and healthy.

The challenge with that, though, is staying active is not always the easiest, most convenient or accessible possibility for wheelchair users.

More often than not, wheelchair users need expensive custom solutions for fitness, or specialty equipment to participate in adaptive sports. Those items that can be seen more as wants than as needs can be difficult to justify on top of medical and financial bills.

One nonprofit group recognizes this challenge, and is looking to create equal access for wheelchair using athletes.

The CAF Difference

Challenged Athletes Foundation’s (CAF) flagship program, known as Access for Athletes, provides funding for specialty sporting equipment and competition expenses for athletes that use wheelchairs.

The program funding they provide is meant to step in where insurance companies no longer provide coverage. This goes beyond assistance for new wheelchair vans that many organizations already cover, and includes funding for equipment like sport wheelchairs, sport-specific prosthetics, and handcycles (among others) that can be costly for the user.

The organization strives to provide funding for as many wheelchair users as possible, because they know the impact adaptive sports can have on a person’s life. An example of this can be found in wheelchair sports instilling confidence and promoting physical fitness.

The Application Process

Applications are accepted during one specific time period each year. Applications are generally available on the CAF website during the month of September, and are due in December of the same year. Funding approvals are then announced by the following April.

Please keep in mind that the grant funding application is lengthy and can be complicated. It’s important to start the application process early on after it’s been made available.

For more information about CAF and the Access for Athletics program, visit the CAF website:

What questions do you have about the CAF and Access for Athletics? Do you wish there were more programs out there like this one? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

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