High School Sports Are for Everyone!

The NFHS always celebrates inclusion in education-based athletics, but this month is particularly special because it marks two important milestones in the history of high school sports:

  • 10thanniversary of the Dear Colleague letter
  • 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Ten years ago this month, the Office of Civil Rights issued a Dear Colleague letter, reemphasizing the legal obligations of schools to provide students with disabilities equal opportunities to participate in athletics. The letter served as a catalyst for the NFHS, our state associations and high schools across the country to extend the benefits of education-based athletics to more students with disabilities.

While several states were already active in providing these participation opportunities in 2013, primarily through Adapted Sports and Unified Sports, the 10 years since the Dear Colleague letter has seen a meteoric rise in the inclusion programs across the country.

All month long, through our #PlayPerformCompeteTogether campaign, we are highlighting some of the countless success stories and incredible statistics that have been achieved as the inclusion of students with disabilities has blossomed, including:

  • Last year, more than 47,000 students competed in Unified Sports nationwide.
  • Another 7,600 students competed in Adapted Sports.
  • In addition, state associations have seized on this momentum and added numerous state championships for these athletes.

Join us as we commemorate these significant achievements in high school athletics. Ensuring that students with disabilities are given the opportunity to play alongside their peers—both with and without disabilities—is truly something to celebrate!

These inclusive anniversaries illustrate just one more way that high school sports provide an opportunity for ALL students to play, perform and compete together!