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Call the STAR HOTLINE at 608-305-4601 for up the minute program cancellations due to the weather.

Opportunities for everyone

All people need opportunities to be active. Without them, people with disabilities, medical conditions or injuries experience a downward trajectory in health, which then impacts employment, financial independence, quality of life and life expectancy. Having a disability but little access to healthy activity dramatically increases the likelihood of developing a secondary condition not from the disability itself, but from a lack of healthy movement.

What is health equity?

Health equity occurs when physical, social and other barriers are removed for everyone.

The STAR Center strives to give everyone the opportunity to live a healthier, more fulfilling life.

While there are many benefits of sport for disabled people, there are also many barriers to health equity. Physical barriers, like access to traditional facilities or the lack of adaptive fitness programs and equipment are just the beginning. And economic and social barriers mean even fewer opportunities to experience the benefits of sport and activity. Transportation challenges, job or caregiver responsibilities and social isolation further the problem.

The STAR Center reduces these barriers and gives everyone the chance to lead the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. No one is disadvantaged because of physical limitation, social position or other circumstance.


Supporting the needs of our entire community

Types of programming

Community-based assisted exercise
At the STAR Center, individuals will gain rare access to a variety of equipment commonly used in clinics and rehab centers and can rely on assistance from staff members and students studying to become physical and occupational therapists. Most importantly, community-based assisted exercise lets individuals continue to enhance their health through exercise even after insurance coverage ends.

Adaptive programming
Through specialized adaptations in equipment and approach, adaptive programming addresses the specific needs of individuals with disabilities and allows them to participate and enjoy the highest levels of recreation, exercise and fun. Therapeutic recreation students and staff will be available to do individual assessments and modifications for participants.

Inclusion programming
Inclusion programming at the STAR Center allows everyone, regardless of ability, to participate in activities together. While other facilities’ inclusion programming may not address an individual’s physical challenges, individual assessment available at the STAR Center, adaptations of activities and specialized equipment will allow all community members to participate at optimum levels together.

Traditional programming
In the future, the STAR Center will also offer traditional recreation and exercise programming to allow caregivers and others without health challenges the opportunity to exercise. This will enable caregivers to stay active and support their best health while friends and relatives receive assistance from STAR Center staff.

gaps are filled with a variety of programming

Providing a path to optimized health

opportunity gap graphic

Explore our programs Volunteer at the STAR Center
2 in every 7 American families has at least one member with a disability
U.S. Census Bureau
Who we serve

We serve people with disabilities, chronic conditions or those recovering from strokes or accidents, who can have difficulty participating in traditional recreation programs. The STAR Center offers an array of  programs, allowing all community members to benefit through participation. Every individual has the opportunity to choose what type of programming—community-based assistive specialized exercise, Para Sports, Adaptive programming or inclusion programming—best suits their needs.

Currently, STAR Center programs are held at various venues throughout the La Crosse area. In the future, the STAR Center will become a one-of-a-kind, universal-access, adaptive fitness center open to all.


STAR Center fitness programs and activities offer young people fun opportunities to reach their full potential and live their healthiest lives. Adaptive recreation enhances development, self -confidence and physical well- being and may introduce youth to life long passions. Here, youth can stay active, try new things, make new friends and just have fun.

Adults and seniors

Staying healthy at every stage of life can be challenging. At the STAR Center, all adults and senior citizens can find programs and activities that satisfy their needs and preferences. Plus, expert assistance in every program ensures maximum benefit and enjoyment!


The STAR Center offers rewarding, therapeutic activities for veterans of all ages and abilities, veterans experiencing PTSD, social isolation and other conditions. We’re honored to help veterans support their overall wellbeing with veterans fitness programs, wheelchair sports, adaptive sports and more.

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Seniors
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Developmental challenges
  • Developmental impairments
  • Autism spectrum
  • Down syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Congenital syndromes
  • General public
  • General public
  • Caregivers
  • Students
  • Case workers
  • Training coordinators
  • Family members
  • Neurologic challenges
  • Neurologic challenges
  • Spina bifida
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Orthopedic challenges
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • RA
  • Balance issues
  • Orthopedic impairments
  • Chronic back pain
  • Physical challenges
  • Trauma
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Amputation
  • Physical impairments
  • Veterans
  • Veterans
  • Wounded Warriors
  • PTSD
  • War fighters
  • Team RWB Eagles
  • Social isolation
  • Visual challenges
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Visual challenges
  • Low vision
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Cataracts
  • Blindness
40% of health outcomes depend on opportunities to stay healthy, not on medical care
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“It’s distressing how many patients ask me to extend their physical therapy… because when it ends, they have no other options.”

Christine M. Brose, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Gundersen Health System
The Need for Movement

When medical physical therapy ends, many people have no other way to continue their recovery. The STAR Center provides the physical and social opportunities that allow people to reach their healthy potential.

Function declines when physical therapy ends

Without STAR Center
No opportunity when medical PT ends

  • Medical
  • leads to

  • Crisis care
  • leads to

  • Declining
With STAR Center
A path to optimized health

  • Medical
  • leads to

  • leads to

  • Optimized
Without activity, additional health problems are inevitable

Having a disability but little access to healthy activity dramatically increases the likelihood of developing a secondary condition.

4 times the depression

4.5 times the COPD

2.5 times the cancer

2.5 times the asthma

3 times the arthritis

2.5 times the diabetes

4.2 times stroke risk

2 times the heart disease

57% more adult obesity

50% more hypertension

40% more elevated cholesterol

Secondary impacts

The STAR Center will not only directly benefit the people it serves, but the community overall. The STAR Center will bring opportunities in vocational job training and hands-on learning experiences for university and college students, along with the opportunity for lasting impacts with health and university research projects. This unique resource will make the greater La Crosse area a more attractive place to live and work.

Academic programs that will contribute to the STAR Center:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Therapeutic recreation
  • Adaptive physical education
  • Athletic training
  • Exercise physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Sports administration
  • Exercise and sports science
  • Public health
  • Nursing
  • Didactics
  • Music
  • Art
  • Recreation management
  • Early childhood development
  • Facility management
  • Sociology
  • Marketing