Survey finds Disabled Sports USA participants twice as likely to be employed as adults with disabilities.

May 19, 2009

Rockville, MD—May 19, 2009—Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA), one of the nation’s largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, today released the results of a commissioned survey conducted by Harris Interactive® “Sports and Employment among Americans with Disabilities.” Data from the survey of 1,108 working age (18 years or older) adults with disabilities, DSUSA chapter participants and members of the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project demonstrate the positive relationship between involvement in sport and employment levels. The survey was commissioned by Disabled Sports USA and underwritten by DSUSA, the U.S. Department of Labor and Wounded Warrior Project.

The survey found that DSUSA Chapter Participants (CP) are twice as likely to be employed as the general population of adults with disabilities (68% vs. 33%). The study also found DSUSA Chapter Participants were more than twice as likely as the general population of adults with disabilities to be physically active (76% vs. 30%). The series of surveys and questionnaires also found that a majority of those physically active partly attribute increases in responsibility in the workplace, promotions, a better quality of life and better health to their involvement in sports and recreation.

“This survey validates what DSUSA has seen anecdotally for more than 41 years providing sports rehabilitation to thousands of disabled athletes—active participation in sports leads to higher levels of health, improved quality of life and a greater rate of employment,” said DSUSA Executive Director Kirk Bauer, a disabled Vietnam veteran. “In this time of high unemployment, it is important for workers with disabilities to have all the tools possible to gain employment and advance in their jobs. Participation in sports is one of those important tools. DSUSA remains committed to providing critical sports rehabilitation programs to tens of thousands of participants throughout our 99 chapters nationwide.”

The survey also found 52% of wounded warriors, severely injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are participating in DSUSA’s Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project were employed. This group also reported higher levels of physical activity than the general population of adults with disabilities (64% vs. 30%).

“Remaining physically active instills confidence that helps our wounded warriors see beyond the limitations of disability,” said Steve Nardizzi, CEO of Wounded Warrior Project.  “What they learn from skiing, hand cycling, scuba diving or other various activities, carries over into confidence and success in the workplace,” he added.
“The Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor has a strong interest in this groundbreaking study conducted by Disabled Sports USA,” said John Davey, Deputy Assistant Secretary, United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.  “The findings present significant evidence on the correlation between involvement in sports or physical activity and the likelihood of employment.  They also underscore the strong work ethic and character of our injured returning service members.”
Physically active adults with disabilities report sports-related exercise is beneficial in ways that extend beyond physical gains. Major findings of the survey include:

DSUSA chapter participants (76%) and wounded warriors (64%), both are more likely to be physically active (engaged in physical activity more than four times a month) than the general population of adults with disabilities (30%).

DSUSA chapter participants (68%) and wounded warriors (52%) are both more likely to be employed than general population of adults with disabilities (33%).

More than half (56%) of physically active adults- with disabilities believe being physically active has helped them gain an increase in their responsibilities in the workplace.

More than half (54%) of physically active adults with disabilities say physical exercise has helped them secure a promotion.

A majority of DSUSA chapter participants (76%) and wounded warriors (52%) perceive themselves to be in excellent or very good health compared to only a quarter of adults with disabilities do (25%).

An overwhelming majority of DSUSA chapter participants (94%) report physical activity has significantly improved their quality of life.

DSUSA chapter participants (81%) and wounded warriors (74%) are more satisfied with their lives in general as compared to adults with disabilities (57%).

Complete survey summary is available at http://www.dsusa.org. Click on Survey.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of DSUSA between January 2 and April 30, 2008 among 704 adults with disabilities, 201 adult Chapter Participants, who are participants of DSUSA community based chapters, and 203 adult Wounded Warriors, who are military service members severely injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan conflict and the Global War on Terrorism. Wounded Warriors interviewed for this survey also participated in DSUSA sport’s rehabilitation programs, the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project.  No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

About Disabled Sports USA  
Founded in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans, Disabled Sports USA provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to gain confidence and dignity through sports, recreation and educational programs. The organization is one of the nation’s largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, with 99 chapters in 38 states, and serves more than 60,000 people nationwide. A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, DSUSA conducts regional, national and international sports rehabilitation programs and training camps and competitions to prepare athletes for the Paralympic Games—the international Olympic-sanctioned competitions for athletes with physical disabilities.  For more information, click here.

About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP serves to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. For more information, please call 877 TEAM WWP (832-6997) or click here.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, click here.

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Disabled Sports USA is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

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