Accessible Sports Facilities

photo of man in wheelchair playing indoor racket ball"Whenever any barrier stands between you and the full rights and dignity of citizenship, we must work to remove it, in the name of simple decency and justice. The promise of the ADA...has enabled people with disabilities to enjoy much greater access to a wide range of affordable travel, recreational opportunities and life-enriching services."

President George W. Bush, New Freedom Initiative, February 1, 2001

The recreation facility guidelines described in this guide focus on the accessible features of unique sports-related elements in newly designed or newly constructed and altered facilities. Other provisions contained in ADAAG address elements commonly found within a sports facility, such as accessible vehicle parking spaces, exterior accessible routes, doors, assembly sections, and toilet and bathing facilities. ADAAG addresses only the built environment (structures and grounds). The guidelines do not address operational issues. Questions regarding operational issues should be directed to the Department of Justice, 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY).

Facilities and elements covered include:

  • Areas of indoor and outdoor sports activity, including court sports (such as tennis, volleyball and racquetball), sports fields (such as softball, football, lacrosse, baseball, and soccer) and other sports (such as gymnastics and wrestling)
  • Dressing, fitting, and locker rooms
  • Team or player seating areas
  • Exercise equipment and machines
  • Saunas and steam rooms
  • Animal containment areas for public use such as petting zoos and passageways along animal pens at fairs
  • Bowling lanes
  • Shooting facilities

These recreation facility guidelines do not apply to:

  • Raised structures used for refereeing, judging, or scoring a sport
  • Animal containment areas not for public use
  • Raised boxing rings and wrestling rings
  • Water slides (as long as an accessible route is provided to the base)