Disabled Sports USA is on the road to launching a football league where all of the competitors are wheelchair-bound.
Brad Lang, a former United States Marine, lost both of his legs, while in Afganistan, to an explosion. Lang has plans to announce an NFL draft pick for the Carolina Panthers. Even with the NFL Draft being conducted digitally, Lang says he is excited about the opportunity.
Lang was selected by the NFL to represent the new football league being launch by Disabled Sports USA with the help of the NFL. The league plans to play in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Kansas City, Missouri.
"Something I never would have had the dream to have the opportunity to do," Lang shared with ESPN.
Lang and Football
Lang will continue preparation for the wheelchair version of one of America's most popular sports. Disabled Sports USA has programs across all 50 sports. The organization plans to expand beyond that. The sports offered by DS-USA range from mountain biking to archery. The football league is being launched with aid from the NFL and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Glenn Merry, DSUSA's executive director, told ESPN, "We have an official role as a multisport organization. We are the community-based athlete development pipeline." Glenn says that 81% of USA (disabled) athletes have come through one of their chapter programs, and 71% of Summer Paralympics athletes have come through their summer programs.
The Game and Fairness
The league wants to keep things as fair as possible. Many football basics will be streamlined for the wheelchair game. There will be no kick-offs or punts, instead, the ball will be thrown. A one-handed touch, above the waist, will be considered a tackle, and each roster will be balanced through a weighting system based on the player's disability.
Wheelchair control will be a huge aspect of the game as it will take work and stamina to keep up.
Image credit: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2020/04/25/wheelchair-football-league-kick-off-fall-4-nfl-cities/3015794001/