Football is a rapidly growing activity for individuals with disabilities. There are several versions of football in which individuals with disabilities can participate in. Flag and touch football can be played by individuals who are ambulatory and individuals who use wheelchairs. Universal Wheelchair Football can be played by individuals with all types and levels of disability in addition to able-bodied individuals. The United States of America Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) is the only disabled sports organization that has football as an official sport.
US Flag Football of the Deaf
- The United States Flag Football of the Deaf (USFFD) is the National Sports Organization for the United States of America Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF).
- Individuals or teams can join by contacting a USFFD officer.
- USADSF follows all United States Flag & Touch Football League (USFTL) rules.
- For more information, contact the United States of America Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF).
- Wheelchair football rule modifications vary between leagues and situations.
- The most popular wheelchair football tournament in the country is known as the Blister Bowl held by the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department.
- The “field” is 60 x 25 yards divided into 15 yard segments with the end zones measuring 8 yards in length.
- Teams consist of 6 players which must include one female and one quadriplegic participant.
- Games are comprised of four 15-minute quarters.
- For more information, contact the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department.
Universal Wheelchair Football Association
The Universal Wheelchair Football Association (UWFA) was developed by and promotes a version of wheelchair football for individuals with all types and levels of disabilities. UWFA football is played indoors or outdoors with a foam football. Participants who have functional use of hands, arms, and eyes must catch the ball.
Universal Wheelchair Football
- Individuals with limited use of the hands, arms, and eyes are credited with a catch if the ball hits them above the elbows.
- Participants are divided into a three level player classification system.
- Games can be played with anywhere from 5 to 14 individuals. When the number is odd, a steady quarterback is used.
- Manual chairs, power chairs, and/or scooters can be used to participate.
- For more information, contact the Universal Wheelchair Football Association (UWFA).
The "Blister Bowl"
City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department
P.O. Box 1990
Santa Barbara, CA 93102-1990
Parks Office: 805-564-5433
Recreation Office: 805-564-5418
Annually between end of October - beginning of November
Leadbetter Beach Cabrillo Boulevard & Loma Alta Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Anita Ho, Supervisor
- $30 per player fee to the City of Santa Barbara.
- Furnish your own heavy duty wheelchair and extra parts. Don't expect to play in your every day wheelchair. Many players have been using "The Hammer" made by Colours, but any heavy duty chair will do. (optional)
Colours by Permobil (wheelchairs), (800) 892-8998
Gopher Sports (balls, general equipment), (800) 533-0446
Independent Living Aids (beeping footballs), (800)537-2118
Invacare (Top End line), (800)532-8677
Quickie Designs (Sports chairs), (800)456-8168
Sportime (specialty balls, flags, etc.), (800)283-5700
Flaghouse (balls, etc.), (800)793-7900
For Additional Information
(Additional information on football for persons with disabilities may be available in the NCPAD database. Try searching using the keyword: football)
USADSF, (801)393-7916 (TTY)
Santa Barbara P & R, (805)564-5421
UWFA (General Wheelchair Football site), (513)792-8625
The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center on Accessibility, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago do not formally recommend or endorse the information or equipment listed. Individuals should investigate and determine on their own which information or equipment best fits their needs.
The information provided here is offered as a service only. The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center on Accessibility, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago do not formally recommend or endorse the equipment listed. As with any products or services, consumers should investigate and determine on their own which equipment best fits their needs and budget.