• Christine

Trauma, Anxiety, and the Connection to Sports

Updated: Sep 2

Christine and Designer Janet Roche,

Host of Inclusive Designers Podcast,

Are Excited to Present


On May 11, 2021

At This Year's

Education Conference!


When we think of adaptive sports, we sometimes think of clients who may experience sensory overload. We may even plan for such situations and have a “cool down corner” or “quiet room.” And these are HUGE benefits to our clients, who may struggle in new or

uncertain environments, or areas filled with strangers.


We’d like to challenge you to expand your thinking on this theme. We are living in unprecedented times. Not only are we facing a global pandemic, but a civil rights movement was also sparked last summer unlike any this country has seen in decades, and in January, the full depth of the divisions in our country were highlighted when protesters stormed the US Capitol as Legislators prepared to certify the results of the presidential election. Trauma has been identified as an epidemic in our society and is caused by toxic stress. The events of the past year have shown structural racism, social determinants of health, and other inequities that contribute to this level of traumatic stress—and studies indicate that the risk is magnified for individuals living with disabilities.


We know that people who have experienced trauma can struggle with anxiety and hypervigilance, or alternately, disengagement, withdrawal, and depression. This is especially true when they are triggered by unpredictable events, sensory overload, feelings of vulnerability or frustration, confrontation, or something that reminds them of a traumatic event.


When participants are at ease,

they are primed to engage, have fun, build relationships, and learn.


As instructors with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, Christine and Janet share our program's belief that "sports and recreation provide a physical, mental and social experience that is immeasurable in promoting self-confidence and independence in an individual." It can only follow, then, that we must reimagine our programming environments as places where individuals can build resilience without fear of being triggered or retraumatized.


By reimagining your program environment,

your program will be more welcoming to ALL participants.


The session will address common triggers in year-round sports programming environments, including some found outdoors, at ski resorts, and in locker rooms, and provide recommendations on how to eliminate or mitigate them. The recommendations will take into account the fiscal constraints often faced by programs, and will include principles of evidence-based inclusive design and biophilia.


Pending approval, participants may earn continuing education credits for attending this session through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).



The 2021 Move United Education Conference is ready to provide the tools and training to help demystify disability and make inclusion reality. This year's theme,


Join the Movement: Redefining the Reality of Adaptive vs. Inclusive Sport


brings us together to lead this evolving narrative so that we leave no one on the sidelines. This unique opportunity aims to enable sport providers with the education, awareness, and skills to serve individuals with disabilities in both recreational and competitive sport opportunities.


How can we help change the narrative and be champions for athletes with disabilities in our communities? Together.