O’Farrell, Krekorian Lead Los Angeles City Council in Unanimous Vote to Expand Citywide Adaptive Sports Program

LOS ANGELES — Led by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, a former competitive athlete, and Councilmember Paul Krekorian, the Los Angeles City Council today unanimously approved a motion that seeks to develop a citywide adaptive sports program with a focus on the expansion of services to transitional age youth (ages 18-24), adults and seniors.


“Our action today means that Angelenos of all ages will have greater access to sports and recreational programming that can help keep people healthy throughout their lives,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “I know from personal experience how sports and recreation can be transformative to a person’s health and well-being, and as we work to expand these services, we are doing so with equity and accessibility in mind. This partnership ensures that we have unique resources to help people now and in the years to come.”


“Our Recreation and Parks Department for many years has had a deep commitment, as the core of its mission, to equity in sports, equity in recreation, equity in play, throughout our city,” said Councilmember Krekorian. “It’s been a labor of love for me, as Budget Chair, to invest in rebuilding our parks system. Last year we put an additional $100 million into the Recreation and Parks budget beyond what the Mayor had proposed, and we will continue to invest in Recreation and Parks to ensure that our commitment to equity includes everyone – so that young people who have a limitation on their ability will understand that no matter what obstacle we may face in our lives, those are challenges that with persistence and with strength and with courage can be overcome.”


In 2028, the City will host the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games (LA28). In November 2021, as part of an effort to make sports more accessible and affordable to children in Los Angeles, the Department of Recreation and Parks launched “PlayLA,” a unique, free- to low-cost youth sports initiative made possible through a $160,000,000 contribution from LA28 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


Even with The Games six years away, the City has been focused on delivering services and programming for Angelenos today. PlayLA has brought critically needed access to adaptive and non-adaptive sports, clinics and classes, ensuring all children ages 5 through 17 have an opportunity to participate in affordable quality sports programming in their neighborhoods. Current sports offered include sitting volleyball, para equestrian, adaptive swimming, para surfing, wheelchair basketball, adaptive skateboarding, goalball, adaptive athletics, wheelchair tennis and para canoe. Five sports are being considered for future inclusion including judo, archery, boccia, tee ball, and climbing.


O’Farrell and Krekorian’s motion approved seeks to build on the transformational success of PlayLA by increasing adaptive sports access and service availability citywide, while also identifying opportunities to expand physical access of sports and recreation programs at all sites and facilities across the City. The motion also directs RAP and the Department on Disability to identify physical accessibility infrastructure improvements specific to the needs of differently abled Angelenos at current and future park sites.


“This motion will continue our work in improving our facilities’ infrastructure, ensuring our park system is accessible and provides an opportunity to create possibilities for a brighter future to every Angeleno,” said Michael A. Shull, RAP general manager. “We look forward to partnering with the Department on Disability on our goal to increase participation in our adaptive sports programs.”


“In many cases, people have dreams but not the safety net or resources,” said Bryan McQueeney, CEO of Ride On. “The programs we are beginning to build in advance of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games are going to be critical. I want to thank the people who have rolled up their sleeves to get us to this point, and move forward into the future.”


“People who are differently abled need access to sports, parks, and equipment,” said Ignacio Medrano, board member and former player with U.S. Amputee Soccer. “For me, participating in U.S. Amputee Soccer has meant the world, and it has allowed me to express myself and enjoy my life in ways I would not have had otherwise. A special thanks to Councilmembers O’Farrell and Krekorian for this motion. Now that we have our foot in the door, anything is possible.”