A Littleton-based soccer group will pay $11,000 and adjust its policies to resolve a claim of discrimination under the the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
A seven-year-old deaf boy began playing for the Colorado Rush Soccer Club in the fall of 2017. He required a hearing aid and communication assistance, which the club initially provided. However, in January 2018, the club allegedly ceased its support of the child, claiming it was too costly, and asked the family to handle the accommodations.
A sign language interpreter that the family hired or the boy’s father subsequently provided interpretation for “hundreds of practices or games,” according to a description of the case from U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn. The family ultimately withdrew their son from the club due to the burden of providing communication services.
“All youth sports leagues, whether public or private, must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Dunn. “We are pleased that Colorado Rush has agreed to adopt policies that comply.”
The ADA requires reasonable accommodations for “a physical or mental impairment limiting one or more major life activities.” The common question for athletes is what qualifies as “reasonable.” Fundamental changes to the sport or activity, undue financial burdens, and health or safety risks would typically be outside the definition of reasonable.
As part of the settlement of the claim, Colorado Rush will pay $11,000 and commit to providing hearing aids and other communications services in the future.