Saturday, June 2, 2007

Court ruling does not favor wheelchair athlete

Tatyana McFadden's bid to compete as a high school track athlete and be awarded points for her participation was not successful in last month's court ruling.

"U.S. District Court Judge Andre M. Davis agreed that Atholton junior Tatyana McFadden is experiencing irreparable harm because as a wheelchair competitor, she races in individual events but cannot score for her team.
But the judge ultimately ruled against her request for an injunction against the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, saying her situation was akin to that of other athletes - like divers and pole vaulters - who have competed in the past but not scored when the number of competitors in their individual events remained too low.
"The question is whether the constraints on McFadden's ability to earn points for her team differ in any material, legally cognizable ways from the constraints on the opportunity of similarly situated students," Davis wrote in a decision dated Saturday. "The court is constrained to answer that question 'no.'" Via Baltimore Sun

Public opinion has been negative with fears about injury and the competitive advantages enjoyed by superior athletes with disabilities the most common complaints. In this controversial case, many spoke of how Tatyana, a medal winner in the Paralympics, won with ease at many events, failing to distinguish her from lesser talented wheelchair athletes.

Tatyana acknowledged her disappointment (in the article I've linked to above), but indicated that she has won the right to participate in events and that some local events are awarding her points. This season she has skipped a few events choosing to participate in wheelchair sports events - where she won gold medals.


Anonymous said...

Suits her right . I was sued by someone in a wheelchair to build a ramp and cost me money. You people think you deserve everything. It's not our fault that you're disabled. Stay with your own kind.

betterolls said...

It's unfortunate that the case turned out this way. It reinforces the idea that athletes with disabilities can only compete with their own kind, in their own category.