Sport not only makes you stronger and healthier, it also helps to improve your mood. With a host of formal federations and regulatory bodies, as well as more amateur sporting associations, geared up to facilitating adapted sports – whether you want to compete for fun or for glory – there’s no reason not to join in!
Adapted sports for all
Modifications in adapted sports are often minimal and so allow people with disabilities to participate without losing any of the sports original essence. Adapted sports can be recreational or competitive, with the highest performance competition being the Paralympic Games.
One of the fundamental aspects of adapted sports is the modification of the sports equipment and wheelchairs used to participate. In recent years, both the design and the materials that the chairs are made from has been improved, so they can be adapted to the specific needs required by each sport.
What sport should I chose?
Practically all individual, doubles and team sports, can be adapted. Before choosing which one is right for you, think about what you enjoy, what motivates you and what you want to achieve by practicing the sport.
Cycling is a possibility for people with disabilities thanks to manual bicycles or handbikes. There are two alternatives for this sport. The first is handbikes (separate from wheelchairs), such as the QUICKIE Shark. These handbikes are very sporty, always manual and, depending on the model, will allow you to take part in both recreational and competitive cycling.
If you are looking for a less sporty model, which you can still use for exercise, you can opt for a handbike that attaches to your wheelchair. This is the design behind the QUICKIE Attitude. The range offers manual, hybrid and fully electric models.
2. Wheelchair Basketball
Wheelchair Basketball is one of the most popular adapted sports, with leagues and competitions all over the world. Wheelchair basketball requires remarkable effort, because both the dimensions of the court and the height of the basket are the same as in classic basketball. Adapted chairs can have 4 or 5 wheels, two large ones located at the rear, 2 small ones at the front, and usually a fifth anti-roll wheel at the back. Being a team sport, it encourages companionship and social relationships. Due to its wide growth, you will find clubs and associations in different categories and at various levels.
3. Wheelchair Rugby
Originally intended for players with quadriplegia. In many parts of the world adapted quad Rugby has a long tradition. If you want to learn more about this sport, visit the English Federation of Disability Sports (EFDS) webpage.
Adapted Fencing became a Paralympic sport in 1960, and requires the same conditions as its traditional version: precision, technique and style. The chair is anchored to the floor, allowing more freedom of movement in the arms. It is one of the most interesting adapted sports if you want to develop your agility and reflexes.
Adapted hockey has two categories: one in a manual wheelchair and another in an electric wheelchair. It is also played with two types of sticks: a conventional hand stick and a T-stick, which features plastic blades located at the front of the chair. This gives people with different degrees of disability the opportunity to play, making it one of the most integrated adapted sports.
If you’re looking to exercise and express yourself at the same time, then Adapted Dance is your sport. Its success is such that it already has its own rules! With such a wide range of dance styles you are sure to find one that suits you, whether that’s the Tango, Waltz, or Cha-Cha, or maybe even something more active like Zumba. In short, dance is a fun and sociable sport to practice all year round and in a wide range of locations.
Of all the adapted sports, this is one that provides more autonomy to those who practice it. One of its characteristics is the joystick type control that facilitates the operation of both the rudder and sails. If you want to take part in outdoor sports, adapted sailing is a good way to demonstrate your skill and speed out at sea, whilst enjoying an incomparable sense of freedom.
Wheelchair tennis respects some of the rules of traditional tennis. For example, the size of the court is the same, as is the type of racket used. In the adapted version of the game the ball may bounce twice and can also land outside the court on the second bounce.
There are many wheelchairs which are specifically designed for playing tennis.
If you decide to practice this sport you must use, not only your physical strength, but also your ability to concentrate. Adapted slalom is a sport that is practiced in indoor sports centres or open spaces, if the weather permits, and consists of conquering a series of obstacles along a course. The adapted slalom events are divided into two parts: one which is mandatory, and one which is open and variable. This makes it easily adaptable to different levels. The goal is to travel the course in the shortest time possible.
10. Adrenaline Sports
Skiing, karting or paragliding are just some of the adapted sports that give you the opportunity to take on personal challenges, enjoy unforgettable experiences outdoors, discover the world, have fun with friends and enjoy a thrilling adrenaline rush. You can choose the place and choose the experience: it’s only you who lays down the boundaries and rules.
Your adapted sport with the appropriate wheelchair
Taking part in sports is good for your health, both physically and mentally, regardless of whether you suffer from a disability or not. In fact, as you have seen, many sports barely change their rules when it comes to modifying them into adapted sports. To get the most enjoyment out of them, you must have the right equipment which will allow you to practice your sport without limitations.
Nowadays, there is a great variety of wheelchairs and sports equipment developed specifically for various sports, such as those offered by Sunrise Medical under the brands RGK and Quickie. Find the model that best suits your needs, and get the best performance on and off the track!