Disabled, Not Unable – Football
One of my favorite things about fall is the return of football (I type as I drink from my Bengals Super Bowl LVI cup). There is something special, and anxiety-inducing, about watching the ups and downs of your favorite team every week. It is one thing to watch on TV, but it is a unique experience to get to attend a game in person, feel the excitement in the stadium, and participate in the traditions.
Whether you love college football or the NFL, accommodations now make it easier for guests with disabilities to attend games. Accessibility is not standard or equal across stadiums, but a lot of improvements have been made.
College Football Games
All colleges and universities are required to provide accessible seating by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While this is a requirement, there is a huge disparity in what is offered across the country. Some stadiums only offer a limited number of accessible seats and cannot guarantee companion seats, while others have accessible seating, parking, shuttles, and concessions. Stadium age is a big factor in college football accessibility because many of these stadiums predate the ADA. They still need to be ADA-compliant. Many universities have been sued under the ADA for lack of compliance with accessibility.
If you want to attend a game, the best approach is to call the Athletic office to help plan your game day experience. This can help make sure you get the appropriate accessible tickets for yourself and your guests. It will also help you prepare for game day so you know where to go and what to expect.
NFL Football Games
Just like college stadiums, NFL stadiums provide various levels of accommodation and accessibility. Accommodations at NFL stadiums include ADA-designated gates, assistive listening devices, captioning, accessible parking, drop-off areas, sensory kits, sensory rooms, wheelchair escorts, wheelchairs provided for game day, sign language interpreters, accessible concessions, family/companion bathrooms, and service animals. You can see a good ranking of stadiums here. Most stadiums also have a personal care attendant policy that provides free admission to a government-funded personal care attendant.
It is going to be very important to do your research and plan before attending a game. Go to your team’s website and look at what accommodations are available. Also, call the stadium Guest Services Hotline to get help in planning your game day. Working with the stadium and asking for accommodation in advance will help make the game day experience better for everyone.
If you have questions, you can always Ask Allison!