The 1976 Paralympic Games was the first games that included competition for athletes who were blind and visually impaired. Dr. Charles Buell began the search for the first U.S. Paralympic blind and visually impaired athlete contingent through individual letters and ads posted in magazines. An initial planning meeting was held in Indianapolis, Indiana and a tryout camp for wrestlers, swimmers, and track & field athletes was conducted in Louisville, Kentucky.
While at the first Games, Dr. Buell and colleagues, Arthur Copeland, Lou Moneymaker and Judy Whyte learned that most nations participating in the Paralympic Games had organizations that provided opportunities for athletes with visual impairments. During an informal meeting held in the track infield at the 1976 Paralympic Games, these four individuals formulated a plan for an organization that would become the United States Association of Blind Athletes. Later that year, these same four individuals and twenty-eight others met in Kansas City, Missouri. At that time, USABA’s name was created, a constitution and by-laws were established and an initial board of directors was chosen. Arthur Copeland was elected USABA’s first president. Lou Moneymaker was elected vice-president and Judy Whyte was elected treasurer.
Arthur Copeland served as president and fund-raiser for 10 years. He represented USABA at early international meetings and helped develop what would later become USABA’s international federation, the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA).
For 39 years, Judy Whyte was an inspirational coach and teacher of the blind and visually impaired at the Indiana School for the Blind. While there, Judy coached students to multiple wins in track and swimming. As a founder of the United States Association for Blind Athletes she helped these very same students take their competitive skills to the international arena.
Dr. Charles E. Buell, pioneer, innovator, advocate for excellence in physical education, sport, and recreation programs for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, had the distinction as a founder of the United States Association of Blind Athletes and member of the USABA Board of Directors for many years. Additionally, Dr. Buell was a founder of the California Association for Blind Athletes, serving as its first president.
Lou Moneymaker was named the first Vice President of the USABA board of directors and has held a variety of leadership positions on the USABA board. He has also served as Chef de Mission and team leader for numerous official delegations that participated in international competitions. Along with Copeland, Moneymaker was an architect for the International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA).