AccesSportAmerica was founded by Executive Director Ross Lilley in 1995. At the time, Rev. Ross Lilley was the Minster at the South Acton Congregational Church in Acton, Massachusetts. Ross left his position in the summer of 2001 to devote his efforts full-time to AccesSportAmerica.
Prior to founding AccesSportAmerica, Ross had been adapting and teaching windsurfing for people with disabilities since 1984. A pioneer in adaptive equipment and training techniques, Ross serves as chief instructor and inventor for AccesSportAmerica so that windsurfing and other high-challenge water sports are possible for children and adults living with disabilities. AccesSportAmerica was the first to adapt the sport of windsurfing in the United States.
AccesSportAmerica first came to national attention when The Boston Globe reported on Ross and his son, Joshua born in 1985 with cerebral palsy and quadriplegia, windsurfing off the coast of Cape Cod. National coverage on ABC Good Morning America with Medical Editor Dr. Tim Johnson and in major windsurfing magazines soon followed.
Successful in adapting to virtually every disability from quadriplegia and paraplegia to sight impairment, blindness and emotional disorders, AccesSportAmerica continues to develop, build and test adaptations to accommodate any person with any disability.
AccesSportAmerica adapts sports that the most agile of athletes find challenging and bring these sports--adaptive windsurfing, kayaking, rowing/sculling, Hawaiian outrigger canoeing and water-skiing--to children and adults living with disabilities. The exhilaration inherent to each sport is just a part of the experience, the positive change in function and fitness as well as attitude and expectation for a life lived with a disability are at the heart of AccesSportAmerica.
Programs are designed to promote each person's highest physical and athletic potential while cultivating social and emotional well being. As a result, improved health and fitness reduces the prevalence of associated health related diseases, thereby reducing medical and rehabilitative costs.
Today, with ongoing collaborations with our Program Partners which include Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Network, Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, Perkins School for the Blind, Massachusetts Hospital School and Boys & Girls Clubs among others, our programs continue to impact lives and reach hundreds of children and adults.
Today, AccesSportAmerica focuses on adaptive high-challenge water sports and year-round conditioning and sports activity to build on newly acquired function and well-being. Accomplishments made on the water carry over in every day life. To document strides - physical, emotional and educational - we are embarking on outcome studies in collaboration with highly regarded professional experts. AccesSportAmerica has developed and is implementing our AccesSportAmerica Performance Evaluation Tooltm to document strides in several sports.
Our dedicated and committed year round professional instructional staff and team of volunteers provide the key leadership to successfully implement programs. All Instructors first serve as Volunteer Instructors. Training is on-going.
To broaden our reach, we are developing model programs to replicate in partnership with institutions and organizations. Our Travel Sports Camp is a one/two week intensive camp program now in its fifth year held at targeted locations nationwide. Our City Street program, now in its third year in partnership with the Boston and Chelsea Public Schools, is for economically challenged students living with disabilities within urban public schools. Our newest program, in the pilot phase, is for Veterans living with disabilities.
AccesSportAmerica builds a community of relationships that last a lifetime. We are seeking to change the face of rehabilitation and create a community where differences are diminished, blurred and often erased.
We are grateful to our supporters - individuals, foundations and corporations - for their support and encouragement of AccesSportAmerica