Leveraging more than 110 years of combined adaptive sports experience, Birdies for the Brave homefront group Disabled Sports USA has merged with Adaptive Sports USA to become Move United, the nation’s leading community-based adaptive sports organization. The new group will lead the movement to fully include people with disabilities in American society, using sports to challenge perceptions and redefine ability for young people and adults with disabilities.
Disabled Sports USA and Adaptive Sports USA were both originally formed by military veterans during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Together, Move United will be the largest non-profit provider of adaptive sports to injured veterans, annually providing adaptive sports opportunities to 2,000 injured veterans and family members at no cost through its Move United Warfighters program.
“Participating in sports makes you feel like you are on par with everybody else and how you used to be,” says Purple Heart recipient retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Brad Lang, who lost both legs during an IED explosion in 2011 while deployed to Afghanistan. “There’s a camaraderie that is bred into all military personnel, and the teamwork it takes to complete every mission; it is something I am always looking for.”
Now an ambassador for Move United, Lang, a long-time Panthers fan and former high school football player, had the unique opportunity of helping to reveal the Panthers’ draft pick on the final day of the first-ever virtual 2020 NFL draft. The team picked Troy Pride, Jr. as the 113th pick. At the same time, Lang had the opportunity to announce the establishment of the Wheelchair Football League, which was made possible through an NFL – Bob Woodruff Foundation Salute to Service partnership grant. When it kicks off, the league will be played in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Kansas City.
The new adaptive football league is just one way that Move United is mobilizing community-based adaptive sports organizations for the benefit of disabled individuals. A member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), Move United’s network will launch across more than 200 chapters in 43 states, offering 100,000 youth and adults with disabilities opportunities to participate and compete in more than 50 different adaptive sports. This merger delivers a robust platform for growth, fostering expansion to more communities, with a goal to be locally available to 90% of the U.S. population by 2028 when the Olympics and Paralympics return to the U.S.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Move United launched the #AdaptAtHome program. In collaboration with local member organizations, Move United offers live and on-demand adaptive fitness classes for disabled individuals, with more than 400 classes scheduled every day.
For more information about Move United, please visit www.moveunitedsport.org.