Programs offered by IHSA for students with disabilities
For years, the IHSA has focused upon reasonable accommodations to allow student-athletes with disabilities to be integrated to the maximum extent possible in IHSA sports and activities. The IHSA has promoted inclusion of student-athletes with disabilities wherever possible, focusing upon the various benefits of participating in extracurricular athletics or activities, which would include socialization, improved teamwork and leadership skills, as well as fitness. Effective June 11, 2012, the IHSA announced new events for student-athletes with disabilities in swimming and diving, track and field, cross country and bowling. The IHSA has now conducted these events for student-athletes with disabilities since the 2012-13 academic year, and it has consistently attempted to promote and broaden the opportunities for student-athletes with disabilities.
In swimming and diving, the following events are offered: 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, and the 100-yard breaststroke. Students can enter all four events.
In track and field, the following events are offered: 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, and 800-meter races, and the shot put and discus. Students can enter up to four events.
Beginning with the 2015-16 school term, if certain participation thresholds are met, a combined championship in both swimming and diving and track and field will be conducted that adds together points scored by able-bodied and disabled student-athletes from the same member school during the IHSA state finals for each sport.
These programs have expanded opportunities for student athletes, and the IHSA has been encouraged by the growth of the programs in just three years. In the summer of 2016, the IHSA plans to conduct a road race with divisions for wheelchair racers and able-bodied runners.