What is USA Deaf Sports Federation?
The USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) is recognized by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) as the sole national association of deaf sports in the United States. USADSF is organized to foster and regulate uniform rules of competition and promote fitness among deaf and hard of hearing members of all ages; serve as a parent organization of national sports organizations; conduct athletic competitions; and assist in the participation of US Teams in international competition.
When was USADSF established and what for?
The American Athletic Union of the Deaf was established in 1945 when the Akron Club of the Deaf in Ohio sponsored the first national basketball tournament. The organization was later renamed as American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD) and was incorporated in 1957. The House of Delegates voted in 1997 to change the name to USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF). Its purpose is to foster and regulate uniform rules of competition and provide social outlets for deaf members and their friends; serve as a parent organization of national sports organizations; conduct annual athletic competitions; and assist in the participation of US Teams in international competition.
Why USADSF instead of American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD)?
In most languages around the world, the word "athletic" is translated as the sport of track and field, causing confusion that the AAAD was just for track and field only. Also, an "American" and a United States citizen are not always synonymous. An American can be from any of the North, Central, Latin, and South Americas.
Does USADSF accept donations?
Yes. USADSF is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization. USADSF offers donors a tax deduction to the amount allowed by law for their gifts. For more information on how you can contribute, please contact us at HomeOffice@usdeafsports.org.
How is USADSF funded?
USADSF is funded mainly by membership fees, donations and sponsorships. USADSF is no longer a budget line-item under the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), as the USOC's primary mission is now threefold: Olympics, Paralympics, and Pan American Games.
Where is USADSF's national office?
The national office is located at the headquarters of the Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) on the west side of the former South Dakota School for the Deaf campus grounds in Sioux Falls. The address is: USA Deaf Sports Federation 102 North Krohn Place Sioux Falls, SD 57103-1800
What is the organizational structure of the USADSF?
The USADSF is composed of an elected five-member Executive Board, standing and ad hoc committees, affiliated national sports organizations, and members. The NSO Council and House of Delegates convene on an annual basis to discuss and decide USADSF's objectives. The NSO Council and House of Delegates convene on an annual basis to discuss and decide USADSF's objectives. To learn more about USADSF, please visit the About USADSF page.
What is a National Sport Organization? A National Sport Organization (NSO) is recognized by USADSF as the governing body of a specific sport in the United States and is granted the authority to select and recommend athletes and coaches to USADSF for international competitions. In order to become a NSO, the organization has to meet a list of requirements set forth in this Affiliation Criteria. A parallel example is the National Governing Body (NGB) in the United States Olympic Committee's family of sports. Please visit the Sports page for a current list of NSOs.
How do I join a NSO or USADSF as an athlete, coach or volunteer?
To join a NSO, the NSO's contact information is listed on the Sports page. To join USADSF, please visit the Contact Us page. USADSF welcomes everyone, both hearing and deaf.
Is there a hearing-based eligibility criterion?
Yes. To be eligible for participation in sanctioned competitions for the deaf and hard of hearing, an athlete must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels (dB) or greater in the better ear (three frequency pure tone average at 500, 1000, and 2000 Hertz [Hz]).
Can I wear my hearing aids or cochlear implant during competition?
Athletes cannot wear hearing aids or cochlear implants during sanctioned competitions.
Since I am deaf or hard of hearing, am I still eligible even though I do not communicate in sign language?
What is an Athlete Selection Criteria?
The Athlete Selection Criteria (aka "Athlete Selection Procedures") is developed to guide the selection of athletes for specific competitions, such as the Deaflympics and World Championships. The intent of the criteria is to inform a candidate of expectations and provide an avenue to exercise his/her rights to due process if he or she believes the selection process is biased. A list of selection procedures can be found at this Participation Criteria page.
Why do we have selection criteria for athletes, coaches and other positions?
The intent of the selection criteria is to ensure an open, fair and unbiased process.
Who develops and approves the selection criteria?
Each NSO develops and submits the criteria to the USADSF Executive Board for review and approval. Under unique circumstances where a sport is not represented by a NSO, the USADSF develops the criteria.
Who organizes and coordinates the US Teams to the Summer and Winter Deaflympics, World Championships, and Regional Confederation events?
Games Preparation Committee - a standing committee under USADSF.
What is USADSF's relationship with US Olympic Committee and US Paralympic Committee?
The USADSF is a member of United States Olympic Committee (USOC) as a Community-Based Multisport Organization and is independent of the US Paralympic Committee. Since 2003, the current structure of the USOC creates disparity and inequity in the way deaf and hard of hearing athletes are funded by USOC, as compared with the way other disability groups are supported. To give one example, USOC provides line item funding USA athletes on the Olympic and Paralympic teams, but does not provide similar support for deaf and hard of hearing Deaflympians, who are forced to fundraise for themselves.
What is USADSF's relationship with each National Governing Body?
Each NSO, per its affiliation criteria, is affiliated to its sport's National Governing Body (NGB) and coordinates together to promote its sport for the deaf and hard of hearing. In some cases, the USADSF has a direct relationship with certain NGB's.
What is International Committee of Sports for the Deaf?
The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) is the international governing body of sports for deaf and hard of hearing athletes and exists to serve as an umbrella organization of deaf national sports federations. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a "Sport for Athletes with a Disability", on equal standing with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The ICSD supervises and co-ordinates the Summer and Winter Deaflympics, and Deaf World and Regional Championships.
What happened to "CISS"?
CISS is an acronym for Comité International des Sports des Sourds, which is the French translation of International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. According to the organization's constitution, the official language is English, hence "ICSD" instead of "CISS".
What is the relationship between the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf and the International Paralympic Committee?
The ICSD is not affiliated to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). However, in November 2004, both ICSD and IPC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows multi-disabled athletes to compete in their respective sanctioned competitions as long as they meet the relevant eligibility criteria and are entered through the respective national member of ICSD or IPC. Read press release.
Why can't the Paralympic movement include the deaf and hard of hearing athletes?
This is a complex question requiring complex answers.
1. The first international games for the deaf was founded in 1924 as a stand-alone event, making it the second oldest event organized in the Olympic Movement spirit. The original name of the competition was the "International Silent Games" and later the "World Games for the Deaf". In 2001, the International Olympic Committee granted ICSD permission to identify its quadrennial games as Summer Deaflympics and Winter Deaflympics. The Paralympic Games, a name that was approved by the IOC in 1984, began under a different name "International Stoke Mandeville Games" in 1952.
2. During the Deaflympics, deaf athletes compete against and interact with each other in sign language. Sign language interpreters come into the picture when hearing people are involved.
3. The 1995 ICSD Congress voted unanimously to disaffiliate from the IPC, as the deaf international community felt it was in its best interests to retain autonomous control and management of the Deaflympics. The ICSD's motto is "Equal through Sports".
4. To make a long answer short, this December 1996 article written by the former ICSD President Dr. Jerald Jordan gives an excellent overview of the Deaflympics and its relationship with the Paralympics.
What is USADSF's relationship with Pan American Deaf Sports Organization?
One of many nations spanning the North, Central and South Americas, USADSF is a member of the Pan American Deaf Sports Organization (PANAMDES). PANAMDES is one of the four regional confederations under the ICSD. The qualification regulations for the Deaflympics where the number of teams is capped may require USADSF to compete in a PANAMDES-sanctioned qualifying event prior to the Deaflympics.
AAAD – American Athletic Association of the Deaf CSD - Communication Service for the Deaf ICSD – International Committee of Sports for the Deaf IOC - International Olympic Committee IPC – International Paralympic Committee NGB – National Governing Body NSO – National Sport Organization PANAMDES – Pan American Deaf Sports Organization (in Spanish ) USADSF – USA Deaf Sports Federation USOC – United States Olympic Committee
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