The Akron Club of the Deaf in Ohio sponsored the first national basketball tournament in 1945, at which time it established the American Athletic Union of the Deaf. The organization was later renamed the American Athletic Association of the Deaf, and in 1997, the 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.
The Federation had published a quarterly newspaper, AAAD Bulletin, since 1948 and established the Hall of Fame in 1952. Beginning in 1955, Athletes of the Year have been selected on an annual basis.
Recognized as the only national athletic association to coordinate the participation of American deaf and hard of hearing individuals in international competitions, the Federation is affiliated with the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD, formerly known as Comité International des Sports des Sourds – CISS) and has hosted the Summer Deaflympics in 1965 (Washington, DC) and 1985 (Los Angeles), and the Winter Deaflympics in 1975 (Lake Placid, NY) and 2007 (Salt Lake City).
All deaf and hard of hearing individuals with a hearing loss of 55dB or greater in the better ear are eligible. The use of hearing aids is prohibited in competitions. USA Team participants must be American citizens and members of the Federation in good standing.
Facts about U.S. Team
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially recognizes the ICSD as the sole organization responsible for the administration of all sporting events involving the deaf and hard of hearing. Conditions of competition in the Deaflympics are similar to those for the Olympic Games.
The Games Preparation Committee, a standing committee of the Federation, coordinates with the Executive Board and each National Sport Organization to organize and prepare USA Teams for the Deaflympics, PANAMDES Games, and World Championships. Athletes and coaches are selected based on parameters and requirements outlined in each sport's Athlete and Coach Selection Criteria.
Each sport's selection criteria for both athletes and coaches are available in the Participation Criteria section under the Athletes menu.