Dedicated to providing life-changing access to sports and physical activity, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is thrilled to announce its largest grant distribution ever. This year, 3,256 grants were distributed valued at $6.2 million to athletes ranging from first-time applicants to elite-level Paralympic competitors. CAF is a world leader in the adaptive sports movement and has helped thousands of athletes with physical challenges ignite their future through sport.
Since 1994, CAF has remained committed and focused on positively impacting athletes through our worldwide Grant Program, which provides financial support for adaptive sports equipment not typically covered by medical insurance for items such as running prosthetics, handcycles and sport wheelchairs, adaptive training equipment, and expenses related to competition travel, training, and coaching.
“We believe sports are a pathway to more in life and that’s why we are committed to providing access to equipment, travel and competition expenses for athletes of all abilities across a wide variety of sports and activities,” says Kristine Entwistle, CAF Chief Executive Director. “We were proud to support nearly 700 first-time applicants, increase the number of grants to youth under 18, and provide access to some of the most innovative sports equipment available.”
This year’s grant distribution spans 83 different sports and activities including, but not limited to: track and field, wheelchair basketball, adaptive fitness training, cycling, surfing, fly-fishing, wheelchair rugby, alpine and Nordic skiing, sled hockey, and outdoor recreation. Grants were funded across all 50 states and 29 countries for individuals between the ages of two and 79 years old.
Special Grant Presentations with Professional Athletes
Each year, CAF coordinates several unique surprise grant presentations, creating special moments where a select few receive their grants from elite athletes within their sport. This year, those elite athletes included Olympic Snowboarding legend, Shaun White, Superbowl-winning NFL quarterback, Drew Brees, NFL Hall of Fame’s, Andre Reed, Ironman Champion and Pro Cyclist, Cam Wurf, the world’s best ultra-endurance athlete, David Goggins, and Team USA’s Wheelchair Basketball co-captain and two-time gold medalist, Steve Serio.
Paralympic Athlete Grant Support
In an unprecedented year with the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games only six months apart, CAF is proud to have provided adaptive sports grants to over 55% of the competing athletes somewhere along their journey. The Paralympics in Tokyo and Beijing were a tremendous success for CAF athletes earning 101 medals. Every Paralympian has a unique story of overcoming adversity, and the Games were the pinnacle of their athletic achievement. As worldwide recognition of the Paralympic Games and the incredible talents of Paralympic athletes continue to grow, CAF is dedicated to developing the next generation and supporting Team USA.
Össur Adaptive Sports Grant Support
For 30 years, CAF’s exclusive and global prosthetic partner Össur has helped thousands of people in the limb loss and limb different communities pursue the lifestyle they choose. This year, 80 Össur prosthetic sports feet and knees were granted to deserving athletes. “Thousands of people have benefited from the partnership between Össur and CAF, and we are proud to continue this tradition this year so that even more people with limb loss and limb difference have the opportunity to enjoy life without limitations,” said Sveinn Sölvason, President & CEO at Össur.
CAF’s global partner 100% generously donated new sunglasses all US-based grantees to thank them for always giving 100%, and inspiring others to do the same.
Innovative Equipment Grants
In response to an increase in requests for adaptive cycling equipment with e-assist, CAF funded grants for the first time this year with this new and exciting technology. This included retrofitting and transforming over 10 existing handcycles to incorporate e-assist. CAF also distributed 140 grants for GRIT Freedom All-Terrain Wheelchairs and GRIT Jr. All-Terrain Wheelchairs. These innovative pieces of equipment are designed specifically for outdoor adventures on trails, gravel, sand, and snow.
Operation Rebound Grants
CAF’s Operation Rebound continued to support injured military, veterans, and first responders this year with a platform to help them live their best life with athletic equipment and an encouraging community. CAF funded 295 Operation Rebound grants, totaling $535,000. Of those grants, 32% are first-time grant recipients and 34 are Purple Heart recipients.
CAF’s Adaptive Sports Programs Build Community
CAF’s annual grant distribution complements all the organization’s program services including the High School Adaptive Sports Program, Adaptive Sports Camps and Clinics, Operation Rebound, Play With Purpose, and Community Education – each one working together to build a strong community of mentorship and support for athletes around the world.
2022 Grant Distribution Facts and Figures
- 83 sports
- 50 states + Puerto Rico
- 29 countries
- Youngest grant recipient- Age 2
- Oldest grant recipient- Age 78
- 27% of grant recipients under the age of 18
- 33% are first-time grant recipients
- 36% are female
- 63% are male
- 36% of recipients have household earnings under $20K/year
- 26% of recipients’ households earn income between $20K-$50K/year
Breakdown by Disability
- 19% Limb loss/Limb difference
- 12% Spina Bifida
- 10% Cerebral Palsy
- 8% Paraplegia
- 9% Spinal Cord Injury
- 4% Visual Impairment
- 2% Quadriplegia
[Source(s): Challenged Athletes Foundation, GlobeNewswire]