Barrier-Free America Award Honors Washington Nationals

Post Date: April 8, 2024
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Paralyzed Veterans of America honors the Washington Nationals with 2024 Barrier-Free America Award for exemplary commitment to accessibility


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Apr. 8, 2024) Paralyzed Veterans of America – the nation’s premier non-profit of choice for disabled veterans, their families, and caregivers – awarded the Washington Nationals their 2024 Barrier-Free America Award, one of its highest and most prestigious honors, as they kicked off their second home series of the season. The pre-game, on-field presentation provided an opportunity to celebrate the Nationals for their outstanding dedication to accessibility and inclusivity.


“The Washington Nationals helped set the standard for accessibility across professional sporting venues,” said Robert Thomas, National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “Their commitment to ensuring all fans can fully participate in the excitement of America’s favorite pastime is truly exceptional. Not only have the Nationals put in a tremendous effort to remove physical barriers for attendees who utilize assistive mobility devices, like my power wheelchair, but they have also worked hard to ensure each fan feels included and thought of from the moment they enter the stadium to the moment they leave.”


Nationals Park is a unique stadium that simplifies the game day experience for fans who utilize assistive mobility devices, like wheelchairs and scooters. More than half of stadium-goers can access their seats without using escalators, elevators, or ramps because of the intentional, inclusive way the field is positioned below street level. The ballpark boasts several ADA compliant features, to include accessible drop-off areas, parking spaces and ticket booths, as well as accessible restrooms and concession stands. However, it exceeds legal accessibility design standards with its PVA-recommended wheelchair-accessible seating throughout the stadium – from its luxury boxes to its more affordable seating options – where everybody has a chance to sit in a variety of areas regardless of ticket price to see the Washington Nationals in action.


“We are honored to receive PVA’s Barrier-Free America Award,” said Frank Gambino, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Nationals Park. “Accessibility has been a priority since the ballpark was conceptualized and designed prior to its opening in 2008, and we continually work to ensure that every single guest has a world-class experience. This recognition is a testament to our staff’s dedication and commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all.”


PVA’s Architecture Department works to build brighter futures for our seriously injured heroes and all people with disabilities. PVA architects advise on accessible design projects, from public buildings and stadiums, like Nationals Park, to memorials, cultural venues, and many other structures. They help develop building codes and standards for building designers, developers, facility owners, and contractors nationwide. They also educate disabled veterans, people with mobility impairments, and the business community about accessible design through seminars, publications, and free consultations.

Thomas continued, “By prioritizing accessibility, the Nationals are not just opening doors to a baseball game in our nation’s capital; they are opening doors to opportunity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging to everyone. Their efforts send a clear message – Nationals Park is a place where everyone can come together and participate without limitations.”


To learn more about PVA’s Barrier-Free America Award and past winners, like the Kennedy Center and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, visit To seek free accessible design counsel, visit



About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or diseases. The organization ensures veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitors their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funds research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, PVA also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families, and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at