In September 2002, Kip Napier, a 27-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, suffered a stroke. As a result, the entire right side of his body was affected. The road to recovery was long, and physical challenges awaited. The Disabled Spectator story was in its infancy.
Always an ardent sports fan, Kip became acutely aware of the hurdles people with disabilities face when trying to buy accessible seat tickets and attend public events. Traveling across the United States, Kip learned that people with disabilities want equal access to public events. However, this is often not feasible because accurate, easy to locate, accessibility information and tickets for public events are not always easy to find. As Kip learned to live with his disability, the Disabled Spectator story began.
On their anniversary, Kip wanted to surprise his wife and take her to a play at Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. It took several phone calls, perseverance, and the indignity of being asked to send “proof of disability” to finally get seats next to each other. Consequently, the experience prompted Kip to vow to assist people with disabilities to obtain accurate and reliable information regarding accessibility support, services, and tickets at public venues. Kip was now motivated to make Disabled Spectator a reality.
In 2011, Kip reconnected with Michael Saghi at a Marine Corps reunion. The two had been stationed together as members of the same Marine Corps infantry battalion. Michael, an Internet and sales & marketing executive was intrigued by his fellow veteran’s vision. Kip recruited Michael and soon a partnership was formed.
Kip and Michael recognize that it’s just plain hard for people with disabilities to get reliable accessibility information and assistance about public venues — particularly at college and professional sports events. Disabled Spectator is a user–friendly, empowering online alternative to extensive online searches, emails, and phone calls.