AN ASSOCIATION LED BY WHEELCHAIR ATHLETES
From its earliest beginnings to the present day, Wheelchair Sports, USA, has been directed and developed by wheelchair athletes and wheelchair sports enthusiasts themselves, individuals with a first-hand understanding to the values of participation. By and large, the needs of the wheelchair athlete are not addressed by the vast network of athletic programs available to able-bodied persons through our educational system and community recreation agencies. Instead, the wheelchair athlete has, with rare exceptions, developed his or her own resources and sports opportunities, from rules and governing structure (i.e., Wheelchair Sports, USA) to funding travel, equipment and other expenses of competition. Wheelchair sports enthusiasts are involved at all levels of decision-making in the Wheelchair Sports, USA, and its constituent associations. Wheelchair Sports, USA, has remained essentially an all-volunteer organization, drawing on the energy and commitment of the people who also benefit from its programs. Wheelchair sports have also been described as the most authentic of sports enterprises because the athletes compete and develop their own opportunities for the intrinsic values of participation - and not for the promise of professional contracts or financial reward. The dreams of individual athletes have been made possible through the efforts and dedication of pioneers such as Dr. Guttman and Lipton, and the countless other organizers, volunteers, friends, and supporters of wheelchair sports throughout the United States and the rest of the world. With the continuing increase in public awareness, the future of wheelchair athletic competition is indeed bright.