5 Ways to Get Financial Support For Adaptive Sports Equipment

At GRIT, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to help people with a wide range of abilities go beyond the pavement and live boldly, whether that means brainstorming new Freedom Chair features, sharing updates and innovations within the adaptive athletic community, or aggregating a list of every all terrain wheelchair on the market today.

We’re not the only ones: everyday more and more adaptive athletic equipment is being invented and improved, which is fantastic.  However, many of these products are not covered by insurance, and paying out of pocket can get pricey.  

With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a diverse list of ways to make it easier to afford adaptive athletic equipment. Remember - you are your own best resource: if you can dream it, you can do it!

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a great way to acquire the cash you need to buy adaptive sporting equipment, especially if you are part of a supportive community.  We recommend using a platform like Go Fund Me, where “most people raise money for themselves, a friend or loved one during life’s important moments.”  Go Fund Me campaigns are often used to cover things like medical expenses, education costs, volunteer programs, and youth sports.

Some tips to get you started:

  1. Set finite financials goals for your crowdfunding campaign that revolve around a specific piece of adaptive sporting equipment to ensure you can achieve your goal: open ended or vague goals can often detract from overall success.

  2. Choose a platform that allows you to collect the money you’ve raised, even if you don’t achieve your full fundraising goal.

  3. Make it personal: even if your campaign will be geared mostly towards friends and family, pretend that all the people who will be reading your story or watching your video don’t know anything about you. Tell your story and explain why you’ve chosen to create a crowdfunding campaign, and why it’s important to you.

  4. Make it visual: People make the majority of their decisions based on pure emotion, and a picture is worth 1000 words. In other words, the more pictures, the better.

Become a Brand Ambassador

Brand Ambassador programs are a great option for social, active people who enjoy sharing products and experiences with their peers and community.  

Most brand ambassador programs offer individuals the opportunity to receive & test products or equipment for free in exchange for promoting the company that makes the product.  For example, at GRIT, we recently announced the upcoming launch of TRAILBLAZERS, the GRIT Freedom Chair Ambassador program, through which our selected group of ambassadors will receive their very own Freedom Chair free for a period of one year.  

Some tips to get you started:

  1. First things first: seek out equipment and companies you’re passionate about even if they don’t already have an established brand ambassador program.
  2. Communication is key: get in touch with the companies that you’re excited about and let them know you’d love to represent their brand
  3. Perfect your pitch: figure out all of the ways you could help promote the brand and make an impact.  It’s not enough to want something for free - tell them how helping you will ultimately help them as well.
  4. Stay in touch: It may take some time, but continuing your communication will help build a relationship.  Don’t hesitate to call or email with feedback, reviews, or admiration  - just remember to be genuine.

Apply for a Grant

Photo courtesy of ChallengedAthletes.org

Photo courtesy of ChallengedAthletes.org

There are lots and lots of organizations all across the country that provide grants specifically for the purpose of paying for for adaptive athletic equipment.  Most grants are specifically earmarked for disabled individuals within a certain category: for example some grants are solely for veterans, some are injury specific, while others are based on age.  That means it may take some time to find one that’s a good fit, but it’s well worth the time and effort as they generally cover 100% of the cost of equipment.

Some links to get you started:

Grants For Everyone

Grants for Veterans

Grants for Young People

Grants for People with Spinal Cord Injuries

Grants for Injured Athletes

Grants for AdaptIve Ski and Sports

Buy Refurbished

Many companies have refurbished models available for sale at a deeply discounted price.  Most of the time the refurbished products are in great condition, but can no longer be sold at full price because of surface imperfections, small scuffs or scratches. Even if there are no refurbished models available on a company’s website, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist, only that it may take a little bit of digging.

Some tips to get you started:

  1. Search resale sites like Ebay or even Craigslist - you never know what someone might be selling
  2. Reach out to the company directly and ask if they have any refurbished models available at a discounted price: you never know what they might have laying around their stock room.
  3. Get in touch with rehab centers, universities, and adapted athletic facilities that offer programs that require the adapted equipment you’re interested in purchasing and see if they have equipment to sell or if they know anyone else who might - even if they don’t have anything at the moment, it’s likely that someone, at some point, will be looking to upgrade or downsize.

Use a Payment Plan

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Many companies, GRIT included, offer monthly payment plans through companies like Paypal or Affirm in order to minimize the financial burden of a big purchase. While you will still pay the entire retail price, spreading your payment out over six months will go a long way towards minimizing stress and ensuring that you aren’t sacrificing other things in order to afford your adaptive equipment.

Some tips to get you started:

  1. Make sure you only use payment plans that are interest-free (0% APR) so that you are only paying for the product, not the loan.
  2. Try to pay as much as possible each month in order to minimize the length of your payments.
  3. Choose payment plan options that have been vetted and guaranteed by the retailer - don’t accept loans from outside sources unless it’s a friend, family member, or someone else you trust implicitly.

Remember

It’s important to invest in your own happiness, and sometimes that involves spending money on something that will improve your quality of life, even if it’s not 100% necessary.  Make sure you always consider the cost per use of your potential purchases: divide the item’s total cost by the number of times you’ll use it in a year.  There may be roadblocks, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Be creative, think outside the box, and always follow your passion.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below! 


The GRIT Freedom Chair is the most versatile chair on the market, designed from the ground up to handle any terrain. From trails to grass to snow, the Freedom Chair is built for you to push yourself. Born out of research at MIT, the Freedom Chair's patented easy-push levers reduce shoulder strain and put you in control of your mobility. Ready to hit the trails? Learn more about the GRIT Freedom Chair at www.gogrit.us