USABA was founded by Dr. Charles Buell in 1976 with the purpose of improving the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired. That year, 27 young men and women were selected to represent the United States in the first Olympiad for the Disabled in Toronto, Canada. As a result of this Olympic involvement, a group of national leaders, educators and coaches of the visually impaired met to discuss the need for an organization to structure, promote and sponsor competitions for people who are blind and visually impaired throughout the United States.
Today, USABA has evolved into a national organization that provides sports opportunities to thousands of children, youth, adults and veterans who are blind and visually impaired. USABA programs serve athletes of all ages and abilities from local grassroots programs to the elite Paralympic level.
USABA is a Colorado-based 501(c) (3) organization that provides life-enriching sports opportunities for every individual with a visual impairment. A member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and US Soccer, in January of 2022 USABA received certification from the USOPC to become the official National Governing Body for two Paralympic team sports…goalball and blind soccer. As the National Governing Body, USABA is responsible for meeting the obligations detailed in both the USOPC Bylaws and the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, including establishing procedures to insure continuity of international, Parapan American and Paralympic Games programs for the sports.
In addition to serving as the National Governing Body for the Paralympic sports of goalball and blind soccer, USABA provides athletic opportunities in numerous other sports including, but not limited to track and field, Nordic and alpine skiing, biathlon, judo, wrestling, swimming, tandem cycling and powerlifting.
Developing a wealth of sports opportunities allow people who are blind and visually impaired to develop independence through competition, without unnecessary restrictions. Like sighted people, the blind can share in the thrill of victory and the reality of defeat.
In addition to providing people who are blind and visually impaired with athletic opportunities, the second part of USABA’s mission is to change society’s negative stereotypes concerning the abilities of blind people as well as other disabled individuals. Combating stereotypes is achieved by both educating the public through various media avenues as well as by training athletes to enter schools and community organizations to directly address disability issues.