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THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS OFFER A VARIETY OF SERVICES FOR DISABLED FANS

by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker

Disabled Kansans often find that there are a limited number of things that are designed or equipped for them to do for fun in the area. When it comes to attending professional sporting events, many of them opt to not attend for fear of how difficult it might be to navigate through the stadiums between the crowds and a general fear of things not being disabled-friendly.

With that in mind, we decided to investigate Kauffman Stadium, the home of Kansas City Royals baseball to find out what services they offer the disabled in terms of accessibility.We sat down and spoke with the Royals' Guest Experience Specialist Jonathan Rosa.

According to Rosa, the Guest Services' offices are located inside Kauffman Stadium, directly behind home plate in the Diamond Club area. He says disabled attendees are welcome to come to their offices anytime to obtain assistance in making their experience at the ballpark an unforgettable one. Rosa says they can contact Guest Services ahead of time if they'd like, or they can just come by once they arrive at the stadium.

Rosa himself suffers from cerebral palsy and walks with the assistance of a walker, so he understands the needs disabled attendees may have. “I certainly recognize that getting around the ballpark can be tricky, especially in larger groups. So we try to be as accommodating as possible,” he explains.

One of the things Guest Services do is provide golf cart rides or wheelchair assistance from the parking lot to the attendee's seat. Fans wishing to utilize these services can telephone the office from the parking lot to inform the staff where they're located. “We'll take it from there and make sure you get to your seats comfortably,” Rosa says. The number they can call is (816) 504-4040 (choose option five, which is a direct link to the Guest Services office).

“We want to help out as soon as the person arrives in the parking lot,” Rosa says. “We want to make the person feel as comfortable as possible. If a guest is coming who has a handicapped placard, they need to make sure that is visible so the parking lot attendants can get them a spot as close to the entrance as possible. That way they can walk or travel as few steps as possible to get to their seats.”

The Royals have guest ambassadors outside the stadium, who are easily visible wearing bright orange vests. Once the staff have assisted the disabled fan get seated, they will return periodically to ask if they need any assistance getting to the restroom or anywhere else within the stadium. Rosa explains, “After the game they'll ask when you want to leave and then assist you in getting back out to your vehicle.”

“Our main goal is to make sure our guests feel comfortable,” he says. “We don't want them to feel overwhelmed. We want it to be a fun experience for them. We know it can be daunting for disabled people who have never been to a game before or have some reservations about coming. We want to make sure they feel at home here.”

The staff is also accommodating in making sure that people who take medications can bring them into the stadium. The Royals also offer a First Aid station (operated by KU Medical Center) on the Plaza Level in case any medical needs may arise. That station is staffed with nurses and a doctor at all times.

So if you're a disabled person and are looking for something fun to do this summer, a trip to watch the Royals at Kauffman Stadium is worth considering.