Today’s society craves instant access to information. People seek immediate answers to questions. When a question arises, we don’t wait to find out, we Google the answer. The same is true for sports. We no longer live in a world where we have to wait for the morning paper to see a sports score and west coast sports scores are a click away.
With the advent of the 24 hour news stations came ESPN to offer 24 hour sports news coverage. Since that time, sports coverage has evolved to include entire stations devoted to specific sports (Fox Soccer, NFL Network, etc.) and blogs devoted to individual teams and players. Lost in the crowd of media outlets devoted to sports is an entire cross-section of the population, athletes with disabilities.
Currently, there are an estimated 21 million Americans living with a permanent physical disability, of which only roughly 10% are physically active. These individuals consist of former military personal, cancer survivors, and those with a congenital disability from birth. While the exact number is unknown, many of those that are physically active compete professionally, at high amateur levels and in the Paralympics. However, there are scores of other individuals with disabilities out there who are unaware of the many opportunities available to them to compete athletically and challenge their ability.
One organization that has noticed the lack of media coverage related to disability sports is Mpower Sports and Recreation (www.mpower-sports.com). Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Mpower was founded in 2013 by Robert Mueller, who currently oversees the Adapt2Achieve training and education programs at Disabled Sports USA and Eli Wolff with the Institute for Human Centered Design and Brown University. They formed Mpower to fill the void surrounding reporting on disability sports and recreation activities, to challenge the status quo of ability, sport, and athleticism and to reduce the amount of time it takes someone to discover their ability through the power of sport.
I recently spoke with Mueller who added the following regarding the increased popularity of disability sports and recreation:
“the London 2012 Paralympic Games was a turning point to solidify that sports fans around the world are willing to tune into watch individuals with disabilities compete. Currently there is no media company dedicated to providing in depth, high quality and consistent coverage of disability sports and recreation. Mpower Sports is dedicated to finding a solution to this “media desert.”
Mpower Sports made good on this promise by sending correspondents to Sochi for last winter’s Paralympic Games and hopes to increase their exposure leading up to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Individuals are encouraged to provide their own content to the site in the form of photos, videos, and content articles. To learn more visit http://mpower-sports.com/contribute/