Iowa Nonprofit Can Play Aims to Grow Adaptive Sports Programs

Iowa Nonprofit Can Play Creates Adaptive Sports Zone for Athletes of All Abilities

In a groundbreaking move for the state of Iowa, nonprofit organization Can Play has established an adaptive sports zone for athletes of all abilities at a sports complex in West Des Moines. This pioneering initiative aims to provide inclusive and accessible opportunities for individuals with physical, cognitive, emotional, or chronic Health barriers to participate in sports and recreational activities.

Every Thursday morning, approximately 40 adults gather at the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex in West Des Moines to engage in fun sports drills on the court. The founders of Can Play have expressed their hopes to expand the adaptive sports zone concept to other locations across the state, with the ultimate goal of making inclusive play possible in every city in Iowa.

The adaptive sports zone is designed to accommodate individuals using wheelchairs or walkers, ensuring that everyone can participate and stay active. Can Play has been serving the community for 12 years, with dedicated staff members also bringing their programs to schools to further promote inclusivity and physical activity among young people.

Co-founder of Can Play, Melissa Clarke-Wharff, emphasizes the positive impact of the organization’s efforts, stating, “Seeing the kids grow up with a more positive body image about their abilities is incredibly rewarding. We really see it translating into more active participation in schools and with their friendship groups.”

In a significant development, Can Play is set to expand its inclusive program to parks and recreation programs in the cities of Des Moines and Waukee starting this summer. This expansion marks a significant milestone in the organization’s mission to reach more individuals and empower them to pursue active lifestyles.

Furthermore, Can Play’s staff will provide training to the cities’ personnel to enhance their sports programs, making them more adaptive and accessible. This includes adjustments such as slowing down the pace of play or modifying the playing field to better accommodate diverse abilities and needs. The partnerships forged by Can Play are currently concentrated in two central Iowa cities, and the organization aspires to extend its reach and impact to every city in the state.

The establishment of the adaptive sports zone by Can Play reflects a historic and transformative shift towards greater inclusivity and accessibility in sports and recreation within Iowa. By creating opportunities for individuals of all abilities to engage in physical activity, Can Play is pioneering a new era of inclusive play and community engagement in the state.

In conclusion, the efforts of Iowa nonprofit Can Play represent a significant step forward in promoting inclusivity and accessibility in sports and recreation. By expanding its reach and impact, the organization is poised to make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals with diverse abilities across the state. With a focus on collaboration and empowerment, Can Play is driving positive change and setting a powerful example for communities nationwide.

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