Dear Future President:
Sports are big here in the United States. Sports programs have been emerging to keep America’s children healthy. This is a good thing because children can join sports teams and organizations as early as three years old. But for those children diagnosed with physical and mental disabilities, there are not as many opportunities.
I myself suffer from a physical disability, I was born premature which resulted in having cerebral palsy and vision problems. Cerebral palsy causes my hamstrings and calves to tighten, resulting in a crouched walk. By the age of nine, I already had three operations to strengthen my legs and alter my walk. I have continued treatment by getting Botox shots every three months for the past two years. The treatments that the doctors at the hospital have provided helped me become the athlete I am today because they loosen up my legs and allow better movement. I play with and against other athletes that have muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, autism, and Down's Syndrome. The athletes I play with between eighteen years old and their late twenties. It is only their first or second time playing as some of these athletes didn’t have the opportunities to play a sport when they were children.
There are many sports programs out there for American athletes without physical disabilities, but nowhere near as many for athletes that do have disabilities. The only sports that are offered to these athletes are side leagues that hardly get any funding from the main organization, such as the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). It seems that the AYSO focuses on the typical athlete, from my personal experience. That’s it, there are no development teams such as academies that are there to train athletes with disabilities, as there are for the unrestricted athletes.This makes too much of a jump from a noncompetitive team to a national Paralympic team. There is a big jump between the two because not enough funding is sent our way. It’s not fair, and you have to make a change during your presidency because ultimately, we athletes who have disabilities are being discriminated against and forgotten. This is unacceptable, which is why a change has to come in the near future. Thank you for your time and consideration.