According to the United Nations, 15% of the world population, or estimated 1 billion people, have some sort of disability. In Brazil, the estimated number is nearly 45 million in this condition, as 12
million people live with a severe disability (visual, physical, hearing) or any sort of intellectual disability.
The search for a Paralympic sport to practice is still filled with many questions, since the Paralympic sports are not so familiar to all.
The online tool www.paratleta.com.br, with only two questions, may suggest several sports according to a person’s disability. This is important to open horizons for newcomers in Paralympic sport
(either at a recreational or competitive level). The website also wants to encourage a more active disability sport community.
The website www.paratleta.com.br was developed in 2014, using the success of other National Paralympic Committees, such as the ones of Great Britain, USA, Canada, Russia and Australia. The key idea
was to bring on an easy way for a person with a disability in which sport(s) s/he might practice.
The website is based on two simple, direct questions:
1) Sort of Disability – this area sets six options, which most of Paralympic Sports uses to classify their athletes: Cerebral Palsy, Amputees, Visual Impairment, Intellectual Impairment, Spinal Cord
Injury, Les Autres (expression in French used to classify other disabilities, such as dwarfism).
2) Length of Disability – how severe or in which part of the body the lesion is (right arm amputee, paraplegia, arthrogryposis, wheelchair user, blind, etc.)
Since these questions are made directly to the interested part, the disabled person are aware of his/her capabilities, and will select the most suitable disability to its condition.
This website does not want to be a substitute for sport classification system, but just to be a first parameter for anyone interested in Paralympic sport.
There have been successful results in Great Britain, as their website has reached nearly 8,000 unique users per month, right after the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The US Paralympic
Committee is also implementing a full database of Paralympic athletes, to get better results than their 6th place in the medal tally in London-2012 and the 8th place at Sochi-2014 Winter Games.
The website www.paratleta.com.br have reached in March 2016 nearly 400 unique users, far from the numbers achieved by the British website.
The proximity of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games makes this tool so important for all Brazilians who are interested in practicing Paralympic sports. The visibility that Paralympic Sport will
achieve in Brazil as a host of the next Paralympic Games in September 2016 will not be seen again in this country, so this is the key moment to promote and talk about disability, sport and inclusion.