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Playing sport gives the body much needed exercise, as well as having a positive effect on mental and emotional development to greatly increase life quality. The increased number of formal and specific associations, federations and regulations for adapted sports make them more appealing to people with disabilities.
There is now more access to adapted sports from a beginner level to international competitions. Adapted sports can be played for recreational, competitive, therapeutic or for high performance competition purposes.
The most fundamental aspect of adapted sports is the modification of sports equipment and wheelchairs to provide people with disabilities the ability to play these sports. Both the materials and the design of the wheelchairs have undergone improvements to adapt them to the needs of each sport. Changes are also made to the rules and regulations of the sports to adapt them for people with disabilities.
Which adapted sport is best for me?
You need to take into account that nearly all individual, doubles and team sports can be adapted and they vary in intensity and skills needed or learned. To decide which one would suit you best, consider which one would be the most enjoyable, what aspects of the sport would motivate you and what you expect to achieve by playing this sport.
1.Wheelchair Basketball: the most popular
Wheelchair basketball, with worldwide competitions and leagues, is a very popular adapted sport. The court size and the basket height are identical to traditional basketball resulting in a fast paced game that requires a large amount of effort and energy to play. The usual features of adapted chairs used for wheelchair basketball, are 4 or 5 wheels, with two large ones at the back, 2 smaller front wheels and a fifth wheel to prevent rolling, also situated at the back. As it is a team sport, it provides an opportunity for social interaction. There are a number of different wheelchair basketball competitions ranging from beginners to international competitions.
2.Adapted cycling: full of possibilities
Manual hand cycles and hand bikes make cycling possible for people with disabilities. There are two options for this sport; the first type of adapted cycle is hand cycles, which are not connected to the wheelchair. The Quickie Shark models are an example of a hand cycle where the user is seated in the hand cycle. These sporty hand bikes are always manual models and enable you to participate in competitive and recreational cycling.
Alternatively, you can choose a hand bike that is connected to your wheelchair that can be used for recreational cycling. The Quickie Attitude range is built around this design with a manual, hybrid or a fully electric model available for you to choose from. This means that there are some different options out there for you if you want to give adapted cycling a go!
3.Wheelchair fencing: attached to the floor
In 1960, adapted fencing joined the ranks of the Paralympic sports. This sport requires the same skills of precision, style and technique as the traditional version. There are three different styles of fencing; Foil, Epée and Sabre that have slightly varied rules, equipment and scoring systems. In order to allow more scope for movement in your arms, your wheelchair is attached to the floor. It’s one of the most effective adapted sports to develop your dexterity and reflex action.
4.Wheelchair tennis: two bounces instead of one
Wheelchair tennis is dynamic and fast moving sport with competitions offered from a local to international level. Wheelchair tennis has the same rules as traditional tennis except the ball is allowed to bounce twice and on the second bounce it can land outside the court. Matches can be played as singles or as doubles with the winner of two sets the winner of the match. Sport wheelchairs such as the RGK Grandslam are specially designed for wheelchair tennis.
5.Adapted Rugby for quadriplegic players
Wheelchair rugby is an aggressive, fast moving contact sport where teams aim to score by getting the ball across the line. Wheelchair rugby involves both male and female quadriplegics in a team sport where collisions are all part of the game. Wheelchair Rugby will improve your strength, agility and reflexes so if you’re interested, why not give it a go?
6.Adapted hockey: an accessible sport
Adapted hockey enables people who use a power wheelchair to play hockey on a wooden court. Two kinds of hockey sticks can be used: a hand stick, which is the conventional one, or a T-stick which has plastic blades at the front of the chair. This gives people with different kinds of disabilities the chance to play, making it one of the most accessible adapted sports.
7.Adapted sailing: best option to get you out
Of all the adapted sports, this one provides the most independence to those who undertake it. One of its best characteristics is the joystick control that operates both the sails and the rudder. You can sail in a single person or a three person keelboat which are available for variety classified impairments. If you enjoy sports that get you out outdoors and on the water, adapted sailing is the sport for you!
8.Adapted slalom: improve your concentration
The sport of slalom needs not only physical strength, but the ability to concentrate fully is also important. Adapted slalom consists of navigating through a series of obstacles placed along a course, and is played both indoors or outside. There are two parts to adapted slalom events: one mandatory part, and another which is open and variable in each competition. This makes it easy to adapt to different levels of ability. You will excel at slalom if you can train well enough to move along the course in the quickest time that is possible.
9.Wheelchair dance: choose your style
If you want to exercise, as well as to express your creativity, you would really enjoy adapted dance. Wheelchair dancing has two specific categories at a social or competitive level; combi-style where one dancer is in a wheelchair and the other is standing or duo-dancing where both partners are in a wheelchair.
Group dances are another category that you can participate in. Its popularity means that it already has established rules and you are certain to find the type of dance suitable for you, no matter what style you prefer. These styles include a variety of ballroom dances, Latin American dances such as the Samba, show and freestyle dances. It’s a fun sport you can be involved in at any time!
10. Wheelchair Grand Prix
Wheelchair Grand Prix is a fast moving sport with racers competing for the final championship over a number of rounds. It involves you racing around a race track, indoor or outdoor, in a power wheelchair. Wheelchair Grand Prix is an upcoming sport that gives you the ability to race like the professionals do so if you’re after an adrenalin rush and the opportunity to meet new people - Give it a go!
More alternatives: Popular Adapted Sports
More popular sports for people with disabilities include: water and snow skiing, karting or paragliding. These adapted sports will give you the opportunity to experience the great outdoors, meet new people and have a lot of fun! You just need to choose the one for you!
Adapted wheelchairs available for most sports
There are many adapted sports that are have improved the accessibility for people with disabilities and are available for you to try and participate in. These adapted sports provide a valuable social opportunity and gives you the chance to try new things! Participation in any kind of sport promotes good health and has a variety of positive physical and mental benefits. To enjoy your sport to the highest degree, you need the proper equipment which will enable you to play your chosen sport safely and without restrictions.
A great variety of wheelchairs and sports equipment, such as the wide range of products offered by Sunrise Medical under our brands RGK and Quickie, have been designed especially for the various adapted sports. Contact us today to speak about various options available and which ones would best suit your needs!