Sportable Announces Landmark Partnership with Virginia Department of Health
RICHMOND, VA – (Thursday, February 9, 2023) – Sportable, Central Virginia’s premier adaptive sports club, is proud to announce a new multi-year project focusing on sexual abuse prevention policies, training, and public awareness, funded by Virginia Department of Health Office of Family Health Services, Injury and Violence Prevention Program (VDH IVPP). Sportable is the only organization in Virginia working with VDH IVPP on the prevention of sexual violence in the adaptive sports field.
“We’ve all seen the headlines – sexual abuse occurs in every sport at every level and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable,” commented Hunter Leemon, Sportable Executive Director. “While Sportable has always prioritized the health and safety of our athletes, as our programs and operations continue to grow, we need to create a comprehensive, forward-looking sexual abuse prevention strategy. This proactive approach will be informed by athletes, parents of youth athletes, coaches, volunteers, and community partners to ensure all of the people we serve are part of this strategy.”
The strategic relationship with the Virginia Department of Health strengthens Sportable’s protections of adaptive athletes and aligns with the organization’s holistic focus on health and wellness. Through the project, Sportable will review and update organization policies, protocols, and training to reflect proactive and reactive responses in relation to sexual violence.
The project will serve as a model for adaptive sports organizations across Virginia and the country by promoting a culture of transparency and providing leadership development opportunities for coaches, athletes, and volunteers. Sportable will also provide technical assistance to other organizations offering recreational and sporting opportunities to members of the disability community.
In addition, Sportable will be the only organization in Virginia working with Virginia Department of Health to customize and deliver their evidence-based, CDC-funded curricula Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) and Athletes As Leaders (AAL) for adaptive athletes.
“Our community will help us build a new framework including customizing existing national prevention programming so it reflects the experiences and needs of athletes and coaches in adaptive sports, not just their able-bodied peers,” continued Leemon. “This representation and inclusion of people with disabilities embodies our mission and we are incredibly grateful to VDH for the opportunity and their partnership.”