A young man living with disability playing wheelchair basketball

Unlocking Potential: 75% of Aussies with Disability Seek More Opportunities in Sports

 “Of the 4.3 million people with a disability, only one in four participates in sport, while three in four want to participate”, highlighting a glaring disparity. Paralympics Australia reports that 75% of Australians with disability are eager to engage in sports, but feel there is a lack of opportunity to do so.

Ahead of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, NDSP, in collaboration with Paralympics Australia, is dedicated to enhancing inclusivity in sports, amplifying collective efforts to break down barriers and unlock the sporting potential of all Australians.

NDSP’s firm belief that ‘nothing should get in the way of your goals’ resonates deeply with Paralympics Australia’s inspiring message: ‘Imagine what we can do’. Together, we aim to cultivate a narrative of empowerment and boundless potential for individuals with disabilities.

Twenty-five per cent of Australians with disability participated in sport-related activity at least once per week over the last year. We want to see those numbers climb higher by enhancing accessibility to sporting activities nationwide.

In this article, we’ll guide you through discovering more opportunities to participate in sports, and how you can use your NDIS funding to do so.

Where do you find more opportunities to play sports?

If you’re living with a disability and eager to explore more avenues to play sports, various state-specific (or location-specific) groups for sports and recreational activity can be found across Australia.

Here are a few examples:

Additionally, national services like Disability Sports Australia collaborate with local providers to offer inclusive and adaptive sports programs. You also can register for Para-sport through Paralympics Australia.

Harnessing your NDIS funding for Sports Participation

The NDIS recognises the significance of social and recreational support in empowering individuals with disabilities to achieve independence and active participation in the community. As such, funding opportunities are available to facilitate your engagement in these activities, provided that they are linked to your goals in areas such as:

  • Social and community participation
  • Health and well-being
  • Relationships
  • Choice and control

To include sporting activities in your NDIS Plan, it is crucial to outline as many details as possible before your planning meeting.

Two questions you may ask yourself include:

1 – What are my specific needs?
Think assistive equipment, transport, and accessibility and support.

a. Will you need a support worker to come with you?

b. What aids and equipment will you need to take part?

c. How will you get to and from the activity – public transport, family, taxi, carers?

2 – How can I tie sport with my NDIS plan goals?
Integrating sports into your NDIS plan involves aligning them with your goals. 

Here’s an example:

Participating in netball could help you achieve your goal of making new friends and connecting with your community (social and community participation).

Note: Many grassroots sporting clubs and community organisations are not registered with the NDIS. If your plan is agency-managed, you may be limited in the organisations you can access.

To broaden your options beyond NDIS-registered organisations, consider whether plan management is a good fit for you.

For more information, see How to Choose the Best NDIS Plan Manager for Your Situation.

 Some Benefits of Sports Participation 

  • Physical & mental benefits – Sports and other activities can improve mood, decrease anxiety, and help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Sport can also be an important rehabilitation pathway for those joining or re-joining the community, with great potential to improve independence and well-being.
  • Social benefits – Participation in sports is a great way to connect with the community. Increasing social connections builds confidence and self-esteem, again providing a boost to overall well-being.

Sport can be a handy tool, but more importantly, it can be a fun and social addition to everyday life. It gives us the chance to meet new people while developing or improving skills.

Further reading:

Paralympics Australia & NDSP Plan Managers 

The team at Paralympics Australia have a vision to amplify the influence sport has, to create positive change. The Australian Paralympic Team is Australia’s favourite sports team for respect, trust, and pride – no easy feat!

Accessibility in sports can help break down barriers, biases, and negative stereotypes limiting opportunity.

By partnering with Paralympics Australia, NDSP is proud to play a part in increasing access and opportunities for people with a disability to experience the benefits of participating in sports.


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