Parasport is open to anyone with a disability. It can be played by athletes with a visual impairment, a spinal cord injury, amputations, cerebral palsy, an intellectual disability, spinal bifida, multiple sclerosis, or other disabilities. Parasport programs use processes to make sure that the playing field is even, whether you're a beginner or have varying abilities. Participants with intellectual disabilities can also find more information by visiting Special Olympics Canada or the Canadian Association of Athletes with Intellectual Disability. Although not integrated into the Canadian parasport system, you can also find information on sport for people with hearing impairments.
“The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the international representative organization of elite sports for athletes with disabilities. The IPC organizes, supervises and co-ordinates the Paralympic Games and other multi-disability competitions.”
— Source: International Paralympic Committee, March 2011
In order to compete on equal terms, Paralympic athletes are placed into different classes. Specialized medical and technical personnel, called classifiers, evaluate the athletes with various tests based on the athletes’ ability to perform skills required by the sport. In that way, it guarantees that the athletes competing within a class have equal or similar abilities and the determining factor for their success is skill and training, rather than the level of disability. People with the following disabilities are eligible to compete at the Paralympic Games and their class in each sport is determined by their functional ability to perform movements associated with that sport: