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Para-Sports Options: Building Confidence

A person with disabilities is capable of anything they set their minds to and sports is no exception. Para-sports, otherwise known as adaptive sports, promotes excitement, independence, and mobility. It also offers many physical benefits for those with disabilities.

Para-sports spans a very broad spectrum ranging from mild modifications for traditional sports activities to creating a whole new type of sports. Whether you’re a beginner who wants to learn a new sport or meet new people, or you’re a seasoned athlete who’s ready to jump into action, there’s a para-sport for you.

Traditional Para-Sports

Many types of para-sports are essentially a nod to mainstream sports such as hockey, tennis, baseball, soccer, and basketball. These days there are actually adult and youth leagues available for boccia, basketball, bowling, and fishing activities.

The general format of these games tends to remain the same, which is why they’re the options that offer the best entry point for the beginner. Joining one of these teams is a great way to meet new people, grow friendships, and find a workout buddy. But it can also be a great way to get in shape, shed those unwanted pounds, and burn some serious calories.

Gear

What many people aren’t aware of is the fact that many of these new modified sports options have actually inspired innovative technology for people with disabilities. Whether the person is blind, paraplegic, or they have some other type of disability, if they drive a mobility vehicle, wear a brace, or use a wheelchair, there is now equipment out there that can accommodate a player who’s in need of these devices out on the field. Today’ adaptive technology is available for a variety of sports and can include:

•    Basketball wheelchairs

•    Ringing soccer balls

•    Retractable handle bowling balls

•    Forearm fishing supports

The goal of this unique type of equipment is to allow the player to enjoy more freedom and independence so that they can focus more on fun and teamwork.

Outdoor Para-Sports

Outdoor activities can include downhill cycling, kayaking, skiing, and even horseback riding. These sports are now conquering the slopes, the field, the court, and everything in between. Unlike traditional sports, this type of adventure sports is a great way for the participant to enjoy a healthy kick of adrenaline, clear their heads, build muscle, burn fat, and even reclaim their range of motion.

Getting Started

Joining a para-sports team is easy, just as long as you keep some fundamentals in mind, you’ll find yourself enjoying being more active in no time. If you’re interested in taking on a new exciting para-sports activity, contact us today to discuss what options will be right for you. We can meet, determine what type of activity will be the best fit, and we can even connect you with a mentor who can show you the ropes for your first month on the team.

What Are Adaptive Sports: Becoming Part of a Team

Adaptive sports are recreational or competitive sports for people with disabilities and they usually run parallel to traditional sports activities. However, this type of sports does require necessary modifications in order to allow people with disabilities to participate in many different types of sports.

Enjoy Challenging Sports

A disabled athlete can play different versions of the same sport they love. As an example, sled hockey is played in a seated position in sleds using a couple of sticks with sharp points on the ends in order to skate the sled on the ice. This allows the players to move around with impressive speed and agility.

Sitting volleyball is another option and it involves players sitting on the ground and playing with a lower net. The only real rule here is that a player must keep a portion of their buttock in contact with the floor at all times.

Side soccer is usually played by athletes with some type of neurological impairment. This form of soccer involves throw-ins that are done with one hand, with no off-sides. Additionally, the playing field is also much smaller than a traditional soccer field.

There are several other types of adaptive sports to choose from, including:

•    Martial arts

•    Archery

•    Cycling

•    Bowling

•    Baseball

•    Waterskiing

•    Skiing

And much more. Basically, these days, it’s possible to make moderations to almost any type of traditional sport in order to accommodate players with disabilities.

The Differences Between the Special Olympics and Adaptive Sports

Adaptive sports are commonly confused with Special Olympics. While both offer opportunities for people with disabilities to play sports, there are some significant differences. The Special Olympics is an organization that’s dedicated to working with people with intellectual disabilities, while adaptive sports work with people with physical or mental disabilities or both. The Special Olympics is not usually open to people who have not been diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

Adaptive sports was originally created to include people with physical disabilities only, but in recent years it has also made strides to include individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.

Joining an Adaptive Sports Team

Are you interested in becoming a part of an adaptive sports team, but you don’t know where to start? Contact us today to learn more about the different types of team and individual sports programs we offer, the type of gear you’ll need, and how you can get started on your way to learning a new, fulfilling sport that can make all the difference in your confidence and quality of life.

An In-Depth Look at Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair basketball isn’t just a high-impact, physically demanding sport designed for people with disabilities, it’s a great way to stay active and belong to a team. It comes with many challenges that you obviously wouldn’t normally encounter in traditional basketball and it’s every bit as mentally and physically challenging.

Equipment

In order to play wheelchair basketball, the players are required to use a special type of wheelchair. There are many differences between a basketball wheelchair and a traditional wheelchair. The most noticeable difference is that these basketball wheelchairs have lightweight wheels that slant inwards, while the chair’s frame is much lighter with a lower back. These wheelchairs are specially made in order to allow for improved maneuverability and improved speed on the court.

Wheelchair Parts

These chairs were first developed in the 1980s, and are incredibly light and durable. They’re also designed to turn on the spot. These chairs are now more advanced than ever and come with a set of three or four wheels in addition to other components such as push handles, foam grips, brakes, castor wheels, seat belts, and impact guards. As an extra safety precaution, some models will come equipped with a fifth wheel located on the back that’s designed to prevent the chair from flipping over backward.

Cost

These chairs aren’t exactly affordable. A standard basketball wheelchair can cost anywhere from one thousand up to four thousand dollars. Chairs that are highly specialized can cost as much as six thousand dollars. While it’s possible to find this type of wheelchair for under a thousand dollars, these chairs usually don’t last very long and tend to prevent the player from moving easily and quickly on the court.

Cost Explained

So, why are basketball wheelchairs so expensive? The cost reflects many customizations that are needed during the design process since a chair must be custom-made for the player. Additionally, because these chairs must be made out of lighter materials such as titanium, the price also skyrockets.

Are These Chairs Worth the Higher Price Tag?

Traditional basketball is probably one of the cheapest sports you can take up considering all it requires are the right shoes and a basketball. But wheelchair basketball is a whole other matter. However, for the serious basketball player interested in joining a team and getting back on the court, despite their disability, the cost of these chairs is worth every penny.