Eligibility Application for Athletes with Intellectual Impairment
Visit our US Athlete Master List for a list of Eligible Athletes.
Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport (formerly called Inas) is the governing body for para-athletes with an intellectual impairment and a member of the International Paralympic Committee. Virtus Eligibility is for athletes interested in competing with AWL US Teams at Virtus Competition. Virtus Eligibility is also the first step for athletes looking to pursue Paralympic opportunities for athletes with an intellectual impairment. As the US Member of Virtus, Athletes Without Limits manages this process for US athletes.
Virtus Sports & Competition: Virtus International competitions offer programming in 16 sports across three eligibility groups: Athletics, Basketball, Cricket, Cycling, Equestrian, Futsal, Handball, Rowing, Skiing (Nordic/Alpine), Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Golf, Para-Hockey, Sailing, Taekwondo. Athletes Without Limits promotes US involvement in Virtus sports and organizes US Teams and travel to Virtus World Championships and Global Games based on athlete interest and ability.
Paralympic Sports & Competition: Virtus (II1) eligibility is also the first step for US athletes with an intellectual impairment to determine eligibility for select Paralympic opportunities in three sports:
• Swimming (Paralympic S14 Class)
• Table Tennis (Paralympic Class 11)
• Track & Field (Paralympic T20/F20 Class)
Athletes must meet the Virtus II1 Criteria (IQ 75 or lower, Significant Adaptive Behavior Limitations and onset before age 18) to be eligible for Paralympics. For more detailed information visit our Paralympic Eligibility information page.
Virtus Eligibility Groups & Paralympic Classification
Virtus has expanded our competition to include athletes with intellectual impairment in the three eligibility groups below (II1, II2 & II3). While Paralympics has one class for athletes with intellectual impairment (which is called Class S14/SB14 in Swimming, Class 11 in Table Tennis and Class T20/F20 in Track & Field). Only athletes who meet the Virtus II1 criteria are eligible for Paralympic competition for intellectual impairment.
- Virtus II1-Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower, Significant Adaptive Limitations, Onset before 18)
Virtus II1 athletes are eligible also to compete in Paralympic Swimming S14, Table Tennis Class 11, or Track & Field T20/F20. (click for details)
This is the original eligibility group for athletes with intellectual impairments and is offered at all Athletes Without Limits & Virtus competitions. It is also the eligibility criteria for Paralympic opportunities. The II1 eligibility criteria are:
1. An IQ of 75 or lower
2. Significant limitations in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills
3. The impairment must have been diagnosed before the age of 18
- Virtus II2-Intellectual Disability with Significant Additional Impairment (such as Tri21 Down Syndrome)
Virtus II2 athletes can compete together with II1 athletes in the Paralympic class for intellectual impairment since they also meet the II1 Criteria. II2 athletes should also provide all required II1 evidence with their eligibility application if pursuing a Paralympic sport (swimming, track & field and table tennis). (click for details)
This group is being developed to reflect the variety of additional impairments that can accompany intellectual impairment. In the first stages of the trial, II2 is being limited to athletes with Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome. Going forward the group may expand to other conditions as research is studied and applied which follows the model of para sport classification that is based on functionality. The current criteria for II2 is:
1. A formal diagnosis of Trisomy 21 or ‘Translocation’ Down Syndrome, and;
2. A statement that the athlete is clear of symptomatic Atlantoaxial Instability (AAI) – a common orthopaedic problem seen in people with Down Syndrome. Approximately, 10-30% of individuals with Down Syndrome have AAI. It effects the cervical spine and strenuous exercise can result in degeneration of function & pain. Note: Athletes with Mosaic Down syndrome should apply for II1 Eligibility.
The II2 group is offered at Athletes Without Limits and Virtus Events. There is no separate group for athletes with Down Syndrome in Paralympic competition, however, athletes with Down Syndrome may compete in the II1 Group at Paralympic events for which they meet the qualifying times.
- Virtus II3-Autism with IQ 76 or higher (Sometimes called 'High Functioning Autism')
Virtus II3 athletes are not eligible for Paralympics, which is only open to athletes with an IQ of 75 or lower. (click for details)
This new group is being developed by Virtus to provide life-changing opportunities so that all athletes diagnosed with Autism may compete at the highest levels. Around 60-70% of children who are diagnosed with autism are also diagnosed with intellectual impairments, while 30-40% are not. This condition was previously referred to as Asperger’s syndrome, or is sometimes called “high functioning autism.” The eligibility criteria for II3 is:
1. A formal diagnosis of autism, ASD or Asperger’s syndrome, carried out by a qualified practitioner using accepted diagnostic techniques.
2. Athlete does not meet IQ and/or Adaptive criteria for II1 Intellectual Disability
This group is offered at Athletes Without Limits and Virtus Events. Note that Athletes in the II3 group are not eligible for Paralympic competition which is only open to athletes with an IQ of 75 or below.
National Level ($50 Application Fee): Required for most US events including developmental Paralympic events. Eligible athletes will be added to Athlete Without Limits US Master List. Eligibility does not expire; the time it takes depends on the information provided as evidence.
International Level ($150 Application Fee): Only required for athlete’s who qualify for Virtus World Championships, Virtus Global Games or higher-level Paralympic events that require International-level licensing and classification. Eligible athletes are added to both Athletes Without Limits US Master List and the Virtus International Master List. Eligibility does not expire but can take 1-3 months or longer depending on the information provided as evidence and whether or not any additional diagnostic testing needs to be scheduled with the athlete’s psychologist to meet the specific testing requirements.
STEPS TO APPLY FOR NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY
1. Download Athlete Eligibility Application and complete National Level checklist.
2. Once we receive your application, headshot and evidence of disability we will email you an invoice for the $50 Application Fee.
3. We’ll email an eligibility determination or request further information.
Eligible athletes will be added to Athlete Without Limits US Master List. The time it takes depends on the information provided as evidence.
STEPS TO APPLY FOR INTERNATIONAL ELIGIBILITY
1. Download the Athlete Eligibility Application
and complete the International Level checklist.
2. Download the Coaches Survey by sport below:
Swimming Coach’s Survey
Track & Field Coach’s Survey
Coach’s Survey for All Other Sports
3. Once we receive your Application, Headshot, Proof of Identity (Passport or State ID), Evidence of Disability, and Coach’s Survey we will email you an invoice for the $150 Application Fee.
4. The application will be reviewed and endorsed by Athletes Without Limits and our U.S. National Eligibility Psychologist, then we’ll send it on to the Virtus International Eligibility Committee for International confirmation. The time it takes depends on the information provided as evidence.
Once confirmed athletes are assigned a Virtus Athlete Eligibility Number. Eligible athletes are added to both Athletes Without Limits US Master List and the Virtus International Master List. Eligibility does not expire but can take 1-3 months or longer depending on the information provided as evidence and whether or not any additional diagnostic testing needs to be scheduled with the athlete’s psychologist.
Note: Some athletes may not already have the exact testing needed for International-level eligibility. If the athlete requires new testing we’ve created this Guide for Psychologists you can provide the athlete’s psychologist to ensure the appropriate assessments are given.