The paralympic movement is gaining strength with each passing day, and we can notice this in the participation of athletes throughout the history of the Parapan American Games.
In the first edition Mexico 1999, around 1.000 Para athletes participated, while in the next edition, Mar del Plata 2003, there were 1.500 athletes. The number continues to increase: for Santiago 2023 approximately 2.000 Para athletes are expected to participate.
And with the increase in the participants, the diversity of the disabilities that are incorporated to the list also increase. Each sport and discipline has subdivisions for types of disabilities that are translated into classes. These divisions aim to execute fair competitions with equal conditions between their participants.
According to what the regulations of the International Paralympic Committee establishes, in the Parapan American Games there are three types of disabilities, which are subdivided in accordance to their degree.
1. Physical Disability
This kind of disability is declared when a person has a physical condition that does not allow said person to move with complete functionality of their motor system in a permanent and irreversible form.
In the Games, they are divided in: Muscle power limitation; passive movement width limitation; loss or disability of any limb; length difference on one leg; short stature; hypertonia; ataxia and athetosis.
2. Visual Disability
This is expressed in the alteration of the Visual sense and can be total or partial.
In the Games they are divided in: deficiencies in the structure or eye receptors, deficiencies of the optical nerve or the visual pathways and deficiencies in the visual cortex.
3. Intellectual Disabilities
It is defined as “an impediment that is characterized by a significant limitation of the intellectual functionality as well as the adaptation behaviors that are reflected in the adaptive abilities of conceptual, social and practical nature,”.
Unlike the previous ones, the intellectual disabilities don't have any subdivisions and its competing criteria are to have an intellectual quotient lower than or equal to 75, limitations in regular dexterity and that has had an onset before the age of 18 years old.
The Para athletes of the paralympic movement have adopted and follow the Parapan American Values, that act as a reference base for everyone involved in Para sports.
Now that you already know more about the paralympic world through its divisions and values, we invite you to be a part of a more empathetic world, with equal conditions through language. For this effect, we offer you a glossary that may reduce, and even avoid, the discriminations and biases of disabilities.
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