Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2021


People with physical disabilities face multiple barriers to activity and sports participation. This study aims to fill a gap in the literature by describing how community-based adaptive sports and fitness facilities are built in communities in the United States. Structured interviews of 11 participants, facility tours, and review of documents and photographs, are incorporated in the data collection and analysis. Understanding the necessary components for facility accessibility for people with disabilities also assists in ease of use by other community members. Three main concepts emerged from the analysis: incorporating viewpoints of people with disabilities in planning stages, use of universal design concepts, and planning for contingencies. The three projects studied differed in design, target population, and organizational structure and are evidence of sustainable, fully accessible facilities. The information learned through this research may be important to community planners, advocates for programs for people with disabilities, and sports and fitness professionals.


Adaptive sports facility, adaptive fitness facility, universal design, social model of disability, ADA, community planning

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Barnes, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Julia Scherba de Valenzuela, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Todd Seidler, Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Cottingham, Ph.D.