Founded in 2006 in North Carolina, US, Bridge II Sports develops programmes that centre on recreation, exercise and competitive sports for people with disabilities. Bridge II Sports has since expanded to include 11 adapted sports, programmes in public schools, and major sporting events for veterans. Ultimately, the programmes aim to create inclusive sporting environments that encourage people with disabilities to feel positively about themselves, or, in the words of Ashley, “that they are capable, and have a purpose and a place within our communities”.
For Ashley, who is wheelchair-bound due to spina bifida, sport became a saving grace: “I learned you’ve got to get out of yourself, you’ve got to get out ‘of oh poor me’ and you really have to proactively engage somewhere else,” she says. “Disability doesn’t define outcomes, opportunities do.”
Bridge II Sports is achieving its goals. Engaging with people of all ages with physical disabilities, its programmes are “finding the player within” and helping to improve people’s lives. So far, 94 per cent of children who participate in its programmes continue on to college or tech school. In addition, thanks to Bridge II Sports’ efforts, legislation has been passed in the state of North Carolina to get programmes for adaptive sports into public schools.