CHSAA Facing Disabilities Act Complaint Filed By Diabetic Swimmer

The Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) is facing a potential lawsuit involving a swimmer and alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

16-year-old Coronado High School junior swimmer Ethan Orr suffers from Type 1 diabetes and wears a glucose monitor both in and out of the water to track his blood sugar levels. While swimming, Orr affixes tape on top of the monitor to ensure it stays in place. He raced at several high school swimming meets in the past with tape.

However, when it came to the 2021 CHSAA State Championships meet, the 400y freestyle relay on which Orr competed was ultimately disqualified for not being able to produce a medical justification for wearing the tape.

According to Denver Post, the CHSAA rule book says a swimmer who wears tape to treat an illness must have a doctor’s note. Orr, who did not have a doctor’s note at the meet, was given the choice of removing the glucose monitor or sitting out the race. He chose not to swim and the team was disqualified.

Orr’s attorneys argue that the monitor wasn’t treating an illness so no note was required. They also say there is a provision in CHSAA’s rulebook that allows a referee to determine a swimmer’s tape is legal.(Denver Post)

Per the complaint filed on behalf of Orr, the CHSAA is being accused of violating the ADA Act which prohibits organizations that receive federal funding from discriminating against someone who has a disability.

“Right now, CHSAA behaves as a reckless quasi-governmental agency that is accountable to nobody,” Orr’s attorney IgorvRaykin said.

“I cannot imagine you can have any competitive advantage by putting tape over a glucose monitor, not to mention the competitive disadvantage you have by being Type 1 diabetic,” Raykin said. (Denver Post)

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Low Gap
1 month ago

National Governing Bodies should be pushing education to its officials and coaches about the use of CGM’s and Insulin pumps during competition. As the population of Type 1 individuals grows, and the accessibility of these devices increases, we will see more and more situations like this. If officials are educated on what they are, and why they are needed, it will go a long way to avoiding these kinds of situations.

Scotty P
Reply to  Low Gap
1 month ago

Sadly this is more CHSAA being CHSAA

Former HS Official
1 month ago

As a former HS official, I truly believe the *majority* of them, in my state, simply want to show how much control they have over a sport many had never seen before starting their officiating jobs.

When jewelry was allowed by NFHSS, our annual officials meeting was overwhelmingly against this new rule because “The starting blocks are going to become a fashion show”. Had nothing to do with safety or competitiveness.

To be fair, there are some great HS officials, just few and far between. In my many years as USAS Official, I would argue the exact opposite. The goal of all is fair race to all and nothing more. No going out of ones way to find… Read more »

Xman
Reply to  Former HS Official
1 month ago

Oh they finally allowed jewelry, about time.

We need a cure
1 month ago

Very sad that a child would be discriminated against because they have an incurable autoimmune disease and must wear a life saving monitor.

Meeeeee
Reply to  We need a cure
1 month ago

Not defending the actions of the officials…..but there other ways that T1DM patients assess their blood sugar levels (finger prick). He likely could have assessed it right before the race and then removed the device and still swam if his level was OK and then placed it back on afterwards. It is easy to do. I guess my point is that in this unfortunate situation he could have removed it and swam and put on again (another one) right after.

We need a cure
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

Do you know how much the monitors cost? Will his insurance cover another? Do you know that putting on those devices is painful? Do you know that when he puts another one on he has to wait hours before it picks up a reading?
What happened to empathy and understanding?

Swimmka
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

Sorry but I fully disagree. When you are racing you should concentrate on racing and not being diverted but any other staff. The glucose monitor is really a great invention to be safe without being disturbed by any additional procedures. Try to be in competition and meanwhile picking yourself just before the start….
I found the story really disappointing especially that is happening in youth competition in the US!!! Shame!

Former HS Official
Reply to  Swimmka
1 month ago

Not sure if you/your children ever participated in HS swimming. I would argue on an average HS team, even one competitive enough to get a relay in a state championship, you have 5 hard-core swimmers, who could all swim low-D1 or D2, and then 10 kids who just enjoy swimming.

Point being that “should concentrate on racing and not being diverted by other stuff” – for this swimmer, they’re doing what they love at the level they’re comfortable with. It’s not for us to tell them “focus”

Honestly, I have no idea how easy it is to take those things on/off or repercussions thereof. All I can say is would leaving it on potentially injure them or give them a… Read more »

Swim Dad
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

I find this action by the CHSAA to be incredibly ignorant and then I come up on the biggest asp hole comment I’ve read in a long time.Maybe stop thinking about Meeeeee for a second and put yourself in this swimmer’s place.

Shannon Murphy
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

It’s not “easy to do.” The CGM is intended to stay on for 7-10 days. Once you remove it, you cannot replace it. They are each very costly, so you want to maximize the number of days it can be worn. So if the officials want to purchase a new one so the swimmer can put it a new one back on after the competition, I guess that would be acceptable. At a swim meet, you would need to do a finger poke before and after each event and every hour to safely monitor your blood sugar. Adrenaline, emotions, and the act of swimming itself are all factors that affect blood sugar. CGMs are life savers, giving blood glucose readings… Read more »

The Kraken
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

As someone who swims and wears a CGM, you’re wrong on pretty much everything. Please don’t comment on things like this until you know what you’re talking about.

SHelly
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

Pls explain the ease at which you remove & replace the sensor & transmitter ? The sensor cannot be reinserted so if you are aware of some magical method pls post! And are you also including in your “easy to do” comment the fact that he’d be thrown out of Control IQ for over two hrs during and following an intense activity? Doesn’t sound like your knowledge level exceeds someone’s comments, and does not include actual use. Hope I’m wrong & you have some miracle method that will help thousands of T1D! Please share! -But do it when you’re within range because you know how difficult it can be to think clearly when dangerously high or low !

fluidg
1 month ago

What happened to common sense?

Eric Peitz
1 month ago

If the monitor was not treating an illness, i.e. diabetes, then does the attorney argue that the monitor treats a disability? What’s the federal definition of disability? Does diabetes fit within the definition? What about Lupus, and Crohn’s Disease? Are they and other similar conditions now disabilities and not diseases or forms of illnesses, which would require a doctor’s note according to CHSAA’s administrative procedures? Pursuant to SwimSwam, the CHSAA rule book also states that the referee has discretion to determine whether the tape is “legal”. Apparently, the referee exercised his/her/their discretion. Was not the refusal-to-allow a permissible outcome of exercise of that discretion? Finally, what are the damages here?

The Kraken
Reply to  Eric Peitz
1 month ago

Diabetes is classified as a disability by the federal government and is covered under the ADA. I know you’re asking in bad faith, but thought I’d answer for everyone else.

Meeeeee
1 month ago

Lighten up Igor. Maybe go talk to them first and explain. My guess is they are reasonable at CHSAA. But in the moment of a race an official making a call likely doesn’t reflect the entire CHSSA broadly. But I admit I am only speculating and basing it off of nothing in the article that points to them going to the CHSAA to discuss.

tacotuesday
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

Unfortunately, in the real world, the only thing that ever gets big organizations like the CHSAA to move and fix policy is lawsuits. Otherwise they’d just say “sorry” and then it would happen again.

swimmerswammer
Reply to  tacotuesday
1 month ago

Not just that but there is no enforcement of the ADA outside of lawsuits. When it passed there was no enforcement agency created, so the expected pathway to document and resolve infractions was lawsuits. This is not a case of an overly litigious populous but actually just the constraints of the design of the law.

Scotty P
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

CHSAA is kind of a mess. Having lived in Colorado for a bit, they’re kind of all over the place.

Last edited 1 month ago by Scotty P
Corn Pop
Reply to  Meeeeee
1 month ago

Your use of ‘Igor’ as a derision is ??? Amazing what TDS did to people.

Swimpop
1 month ago

As a USA official who has observed many championship meets in CO and have literally heard them in their briefings laugh about about “getting them”, common sense and sense of fair play are out of the question.

That said, how did this kid not have a Drs note??

So conflicted on this.

Xman
Reply to  Swimpop
1 month ago

Probabaly because he swam all year without being asked.

Snarky
1 month ago

High School athletic associations tend to be run by rules-makig-abiding non-thinkers. The case is a slam dunk. No interactive process to discuss reasonable accommodation. My way or the highway. Make them learn the law Mr. Orr.

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Retta Race

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