Recently, a Paralympic athlete decided not to compete in this year’s Paralympic Games. 26-year-old Becca Meyers, who has previously won three medals in 2016, is both deaf and blind due to a condition called Usher Syndrome. Meyers has decided not to compete in this year’s Paralympic Games after being told that due to COVID-19 regulations, she would be unable to bring a Personal Care Assistant or PCA with her.
For many people with disabilities, PCAs are essential to them living fulfilling, independent lives. Personal Care Assistants help those with disabilities with tasks such as getting dressed, cooking meals, and bathing. These tasks are necessary to function. Without PCAs, many disabled people would be without vital help and unable to live in their communities.
The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be an unprecedented time for all of us. Most people have had to adjust their daily lives because of COVID-19. However, the pandemic shouldn’t be the reason that a gifted athlete such as Meyers has chosen not to compete in the Paralympic Games.
There should be an exception to the rule for those who require a PCA. They are allowing athletes to compete, however they won’t allow an access need to be accommodated for an otherwise gifted athlete?
It saddens me that Meyers has chosen to make this decision because her needs are not being met.
Source: Chappell, Bill. “Deaf-Blind Athlete Quits Team USA After She’s Told She Can’t Bring A Care Assistant.” NPR, NPR, 20 July 2021, http://www.npr.org/sections/tokyo-olympics-live-updates/2021/07/20/1018307082/deaf-and-blind-swimmer-quits-team-usa-over-personal-aid-issue.