In a decision being compared to Title IX, the Department of Education has clarified language around the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, judging that schools need to provide equal access to extracurricular sports for disabled students.
"These are life-changing events," Abbot said. "It can really mean so much to kids and what they think is possible and how they believe in themselves."
Sports can bring confidence and encouragement to kids, especially to students with a disability who may have a harder time in school, added Kyle Maynard, a congenital amputee and athlete. Maynard, an ESPY-award winner who recently became the first man to bear crawl Mount Kilimanjaro, described the role athletics -- from football to mixed martial arts -- have played in his life.
"For me, it was sports and making that first tackle and getting that first takedown that really just changed my mindset and started making me think, 'you know what? If I can succeed in this maybe someday I will be able to have a job ... maybe I will be able to go and have a family,'" Maynard said.
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