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Sports and Society Lab

The running track serves as a lens into the Sports and Society Lab, showcasing various levels of sport, from recreational to competitive.


The chance to engage in sports participation and physical activity not only holds significant value for individuals, it also illuminates the existing barriers to access and inclusion within a society. Historically, participation has been regulated to exclude and deny people with disabilities from sporting opportunities. Beginning with the Deaflympics in 1924, followed by wheelchair basketball post-WWII and then the Paralympic Games and Special Olympics in 1960s, there has been an expansion of access for people with disabilities, spanning from grassroots initiatives to competitive and community sports environments on a global scale.

The Sports and Society Lab engages with athletes with disabilities, their coaching and support staff, community partners, and university researchers through traditional scholarly activities and community based forums, workshops, clinics, and symposiums.  As a team, they explore  the changes of the past 50 years leading to the current conditions for access and inclusion as well as the future possibilities for sports and coaching.

As Los Angeles gears up for the LA ‘28 Olympics and Paralympics, and UCLA as a key site for the Games, the lab will continue to take shape, relying on our advisory board of athletes, coaches, and network of researchers.  Please join our DS Labs network to stay tuned for updates on the Sports Lab.

Examining the opportunities and barriers to inclusion in sports sheds light on the societal changes required in both structures and values to achieve full inclusion and access to sports for everyone, regardless of age or level. The Sports and Society Lab concentrates its efforts around three areas: High Performance Sport, Recreation and Leisure, and Youth Sports and Coaching.


Areas of Focus

High Performance Sport

Recreation and Leisure

Youth Sports and Coaching

Undergraduate Education Initiatives Resource Support

News & Accomplishments