The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) announced that it is distributing $2.1 million in grants to 1,132 challenged athletes in 20 countries. The grants, which are part of CAF’s Access for Athletes Program, will fund adaptive equipment, such as handcycles, sports chairs, and prosthetic running feet, training and coaching, and competition expenses that will enable athletes of all ages with physical challenges and abilities to participate in sports.
In its 20th year of existence, CAF has raised close to $47 million and provided direct financial assistance to more than 8,200 athletes around the world. Highlights of the 2013 grants include:
- 80 percent of grant requests received by CAF were approved.
- 15 percent are for wounded military personnel and first responders (supported by CAF’s Operation Rebound program).
- 24 percent reported an income of less than $20,000 per year.
- 75 percent of grantees are men; 25 percent are women.
- All ages are represented (the youngest grantee is five years old, the oldest is 77).
- The most requested items are competition expenses (402), basketball chairs (131), coaching and training expenses (118), and handcycles (89).
“Most medical insurance companies do not cover the adaptive sporting equipment challenged athletes need to get involved, and stay active and healthy,” said Virginia Tinley, CAF’s executive director. “CAF exists to help bridge these economic barriers and to make sports and physical fitness more accessible to challenged athletes. We want to make sure that the people who receive our grants really need our help. Each application is carefully reviewed by our staff and scored using a custom-designed software program.”