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A Business for Social Change
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Wheelchair Sports

Wheelchair Sports

Sports is an important aspect of human life these days. Apart from being a source of income for professional athletes, people engage in sporting activities to exercise their bodies, stay fit and enjoy the company of friends and colleagues. Seeing as most sporting activities require a certain amount of physicality, many disabled people have felt secluded from many sporting activities. Not anymore.

This article seeks to discuss some of the sporting activities that disabled people who use wheelchairs can participate in and enjoy. Some of these sporting activities include;

Basketball



Basketball was the first wheelchair sport to be played. Ludwig Guttmann adapted existing sports to enable wheelchair users to play them as part of a rehabilitation program in 1944. Two years later, wheelchair basketball was being played by disabled American World War II veterans as a way to rehabilitate and socialise. Ever since, it has been a popular game for wheelchair users and combines speed with precision and strength. Wheelchair basketball retains most major rules and scoring of basketball, still using a 10 foot basketball hoop and standard basketball court. The exceptions are rules which have been modified with consideration for the wheelchair. In wheelchair basketball, if the athlete touches their wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball, they must pass, bounce, or shoot the ball before touching the wheels again. This is the only amendment and is known as 'travelling'.

Rugby



As surprising as it may seem, wheelchair users can play and enjoy rugby. This sport was first played in Winnipeg, Canada in 1976. It is a contact sport that combines elements of hockey, volleyball, and handball. It is enjoyable and challenging for people who enjoy team sports. There are usually six players on each side and the wheelchair must cross the goal line for the score to count.

Tennis



This is another popular sport that wheelchair users can engage in. the players use a wheelchair with cambered wheels alongside minor changes to the rule of the sport. For instance, the ball can bounce twice before the player hits it. The sport can be played individually or as a team. There is also room for up-down doubles where there is a player in a wheelchair while the teammate is able-bodied.

Archery



This is an individual sport that wheelchair users can engage in. the sport does require any adaptive equipment and the rule is also unchanged from the Olympic archery sport. You can, however, use a mechanical release for the bow or use an assistant to nock the arrow.

Softball



If you are not a fan of contact sports, the wheelchair softball is ideal for you. It provides a huge sense of accomplishment to wheelchair users as they can see when their throwing, hitting, and catching skills improve in the game.

Weightlifting



Staying healthy and preventing injury is important to everyone, especially wheelchair users who use their hands and shoulders more frequently. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to have a sport that helps them increase their strength, hence weightlifting. Weightlifting is one of the popular ways to improve strength and wheelchair users can participate in this sport.

Fencing



If you prefer competing against a single opponent, wheelchair fencing is an ideal sport for you. However, the sport comes with few changes and adaptations for wheelchair users. One of such rules is that wheelchairs must be anchored to the floor using metal frames. Also, while duelers cannot move their wheelchairs back and forth, there are no restrictions on the movement of the upper body parts. Finally, the use of special body armor and wheelchairs is compulsory.