To: School Administrators/Coaches of MSHSL Adapted Athletic Teams
From: Rich Matter, MSHSL Adapted Athletics
Date: July 2004
Subject: Eligibility Requirement Clarifications

The MSHSL has two competitive interscholastic divisions: Physically Impaired (PI) and Cognitively Impaired (CI). Participation in the interscholastic program of a high school is limited to students in grades 7 through 12. Students in an ungraded setting are first eligible when their age peers are in the 7th grade. Student will be eligible for 8 consecutive semester (4 years), beginning with their or their peers initial entrance into the 9th grade.

The MSHSL requires a sports qualifying exam every three (3) years for participants in competitive athletics. The MSHSL acknowledges that some students with disabilities, like some students without disabilities, will be unable to participate in adapted athletics due to the competitive nature of the programs and for reasons unrelated to their disability. Like other students who do not "make the team", these students should be directed to alternative programs which are less competitive and more recreational in nature.

Students may not participate in both PI and CI divisions. If a student participates in both divisions the penalty for the use of an ineligible player will be enforced and result in an automatic forfeiture of the game.

A. PI Division – The MSHSL Adapted Athletics PI Division program is specifically intended for students with physical impairments who have medical clearance to compete in competitive athletics. A student is eligible to compete in the PI Division with one of the following criteria.

The student must have a diagnosed and documented impairment specified from one of the two sections below: (Must be diagnosed and documented by a Physician and/or Physicians Assistant):

1) Neuromuscular, postural/skeletal, traumatic, growth, or neurological impairment that affects motor function, modifies gait patterns, or requires the use of a prosthesis or a mobility device including but not limited to, canes, crutches, or wheelchairs.
2) Cardio/respiratory impairment that is deemed safe for competitive athletics but limits the intensity and duration of physical exertion such that sustained activity for over five minutes at 60% of maximum heart rate for age results in physical distress in spite of appropriate management of the health condition.

Note: A condition that can be appropriately managed with appropriate medications, which eliminate physical or health endurance limitations, will NOT be considered to be eligible for adapted athletics.

Specific exclusions to PI competition:
The following health conditions without coexisting physical impairments as outlined above do not qualify the student to participate in the PI Division even though some of the conditions below may be considered Health Impairments by an individual’s physician, student’s school, or a government agency. This list is not all-inclusive and the conditions are examples of non-qualifying health conditions; other health impairments that are not listed below may also be non-qualifying for participation in the PI Division.

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Emotional Behavioral Disorder (EBD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s Syndrome)
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Asthma
  • Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Seizure Disorder
  • Other Similar Disorders
B. CI Division – The MSHSL Adapted Athletics CI Division program is specifically intended for students with cognitive impairments who have medical clearance to compete in competitive athletics. A student is eligible to compete in the CI Division with the following criteria.

The student must have a diagnosed and documented cognitive impairment. Cognitively impaired refers to students with sub-average intellectual function defined by a Full Scale intelligence quotient of 70 or below, using a standardized, nationally-normed, technically adequate, and individually administered intelligence test.

Specific exclusions from CI competition:
A student becomes ineligible to participate in Adapted Athletics when they have attained a level of cognitive performance that exceeds the eligibility requirements. A student whose Full Scale IQ score increased above 70 after the start of a season will be permitted to complete that sports season.

Challenges to a student’s eligibility to participate in PI and CI adapted athletics:
A school may file a written challenge regarding a student’s eligibility to participate in Adapted Athletics based on the qualifications stated above. Challenges must be submitted within 24 hours of the end of the game in which an alleged ineligible player participated. A challenge submitted after the deadline will not be honored. The student shall remain eligible during the review process. The committee’s findings will be final and follow the student through the remaining years of eligibility unless there is a change in physical or cognitive status.

Upon receipt of a written challenge the MSHSL will activate the following review process:

A. Request of a brief statement from the school/coach supporting the eligibility of the athlete.
B. Review of the school’s/coach’s submission and the school’s supporting data (testing, medical history, school documentation) by one reviewer who will submit a brief written statement regarding the eligibility status.
C. Appeal Process: If the initial finding is appealed, a panel of three (3) reviewers will be convened. Two (2) of these reviewers must be from different disciplines (MD, Adapted PE teacher, PT, etc). The school/coach will be asked to submit a video of the player during a game or during PE class that will best demonstrate the disability. The video will be at the schools expense.