USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) serves as the national governing body of deaf sport organizations in the United States. Its purpose is to regulate the rules of competition for affiliated organizations, facilitate the participation of US teams in international deaf competitions, and promote human rights and equity through sports. Its international governing body is the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). It is affiliated with 108 national deaf sports federations worldwide. The ICSD is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be of equal standing with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It puts on the Deaflympics, most recently held in 2017 in Samsun, Turkey. 200 events were contested.
A list of upcoming sports events for the deaf and the cities that will be hosting them can be found on USADSF’s website, at this page.
Sports Destination Management: USA Deaf Sports Federation presents a great opportunity for its athletes to compete.
Jim Crane: Yes – they can meet other athletes who have similar skills and similar interests, but it’s more than that.
SDM: More than financial impact?
Crane: We can break even. For us, it’s more of a moral impact. Most of the athletes today come from mainstream schools so it’s an eye-opening experience for them – suddenly, many of them have this opportunity to mix and mingle with their peers. We’re deaf and we communicate in a different way, using sign language. Events like this mean our athletes can find people who have similar skills and similar interests. The deaf community is a small community so this is a great thing for us and for our athletes as well. It’s a way for us to connect, the same way a sports organization for the blind or visually impaired allows its athletes to connect.
SDM: How many sports are offered?
Crane: USA Deaf Sports Federation offers 15 to 17 sports for the summer and four for the winter.
SDM: Do you find yourself going back to the same cities for events in those sports?
Crane: We don’t go to the same locations; they’re different every year
SDM: At the highest level, what process do you follow for selecting a site?
Crane: If we wanted to host the world deaf championship in a specific sport, we would have to get a certificate of support from the city and from the national sports federation from that sport – for example, if it were volleyball, we would go through USA Volleyball. The application has to include the dates of the event, the pricing and dates for hotels, meals and transportation. Once we have all that information, we submit it to ICSD.
SDM: When you look for a city to host an event, what are you seeking out?
Crane: We’re looking for cities with easy transportation, good venues that are all close to each other and hotels that can accommodate our athletes.
SDM: Have there been recent successes you can point to?
Crane: For example, last year, Buffalo, New York, hosted our world championship in ice hockey and it was very successful. In July, the U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships will be held in Washington, DC, and USA Deaf Basketball expects to have 18 countries bringing male teams and six to seven countries with female teams.
SDM: How do you go about recruiting athletes to participate? Do you make outreach to schools?
Crane: That’s one of my goals as the new executive director. Many people don’t know about deaf sports so it’s important to get the word out and we will.