Besides improving physical form, playing sports has a positive influence on psychological development and mood, which undoubtedly favours quality of life. This, coupled with the proliferation and formalisation of specific associations, federations and regulations, makes adapted sports more and more attractive among people with disabilities, who can practice them from amateur levels to competitive levels.
Adapted sports for all
Modifications in adapted sports are minimal and therefore allow people with disabilities to practice them without losing any original essence. Adapted sports are just as recreational as competitive, and can be oriented towards leisure, serving as therapy, or orientated towards high performance competition, with the Paralympic Games being the biggest.
One of the fundamental aspects in these sports is the adaptation of wheelchairs and sports equipment. In this sense, both the design and the materials with which the chairs are made have been improved, adapting them to the specific needs required by each sport.
What sport should I chose?
If you ask how many adapted sports there are, the answer is that practically all individual, doubles and team "sports", can be adapted. Before choosing yours, think about what you like, what motivates you and what you want to achieve by practicing it. As in so many other aspects of life, persistence and perseverance are values that you have to keep in mind when setting your goals.
Cycling is also a possibility for people with disabilities thanks to manual bicycles or handbikes. There are two alternatives for this sport. On the one hand you have handbikes (separate from wheelchairs), with the QUICKIE Shark models being an example. 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, but one with which you can also exercise, you can opt for a handbike that attaches to your wheelchair. This is the design behind the Quickie Attitude range. You can go for manual, hybrid or fully electric.
2. Wheelchair basketball
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
Played in a wheelchair and originally intended for players with quadriplegia. Although in our country it’s a novelty, in other parts of the world adapted quad rugby has a long tradition. If you want to learn more about this sport, do not forget to visit the 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’s one of the most interesting adapted sports if you want to develop your agility and reflexes. If you want to know how to play it, familiarise yourself with the official rules.
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: the hand one (conventional) and the 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, makings it one of the most integrated adapted sports.
If you’re looking to exercise at the same time as improving your most expressive and dramatic attributes, adapted dance is your sport. Its success is such that it already has its own rules and you are guaranteed to find a style that is right for you, whether it be the tango, waltz, dance or cha-cha, or even something more active like Zumba. In short, it’s a fun sport to practice all year round, anywhere, and with your chosen company.
Of all the adapted sports, this is the one that provides more autonomy to those who practice it. One of its characteristics is its 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. In addition, it brings an incomparable sense of freedom.
Wheelchair tennis respects some of the rules of tennis for the non-disabled. For example, the size of the court is the same, and the type of racket and rules regarding the ball also remain unaltered. An interesting thing about the adapted version is that the ball can bounce twice and can also land outside the court on the second bounce.
Thanks to the great acceptance of this sport, there are wheelchairs which are specifically designed for playing tennis such as the QUICKIE Match Point chair.
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 in each competition. This makes it easily adaptable to different levels. Hint: train and travel the course in the shortest time possible to excel in this sport.
10. Adrenaline generators
Skiing, karting or paragliding are some of the adapted sports that will allow give you the chance to gain great experiences outdoors, to discover the world and have fun with friends. 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!