Disabled Kids Get in the Game

A new federal directive demands equal access

Feng Li / Getty Images

Gisele Zavala, an eighth-grader from Snellville, Ga., says wheelchair sports changed her life. Zavala has spina bifida, a neural-tube defect; the mean kids at school called her a "cripple," and she used to spend her days feeling sorry for herself. "It was hard to talk to anybody without feeling judged," she says. But five years ago, she started playing wheelchair basketball, football and team handball for teams representing the Gwinnett County school district, northeast of Atlanta. After mixing it up on the court and bonding with teammates facing similar challenges, Zavala was able to put that trying time behind her. "I...

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