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Adapted Sport

Adapted sport is essential for health and well-being

It is currently estimated that less than one in five disabled people take part in sport on a weekly basis – despite all the evidence about the physical and mental health benefits brought by regular physical exercise.

Whatever your level of physical or cognitive ability, there are adapted sports for you, whether you are an adrenaline junkie with a taste for exhilarating experiences, a sociable type who loves being part of a team, or more interested in testing your own individual limits and abilities.
 

Getting a workout in lockdown

WheelPower workouts for kidsWheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, has produced 10 new free online workouts, aimed specifically at primary and secondary aged disabled children.

Five are for the younger age group and five for older children. Each has its own unique theme, meaning that every workout is different and varied.

The videos are available on the WheelPower website and their YouTube Channel and can be accessed for free at a time that suits your needs. (external link will open in a new browser window)

Ella Beaumont is the instructor for these new videos

Ella is a former GB Wheelchair Basketball player, and throughout the pandemic has created some fantastic fitness resources for disabled people to enjoy from their homes.

She is passionate about helping people with disabilities to stay active and has become well known online for her use of everyday household equipment within her routines!
 

Wheelchair cricket

Playing wheelchair cricketWheelchair cricket has been developed as a fast and exciting new form of the traditional sport, played indoors with guaranteed involvement for all participants.

Disability cricket has been a thing for quite a long time, but very few of the players are wheelchair users. Whether because it is awkward to coordinate a team of mixed ambulant and wheeling players, or because people make assumptions about what wheelchair users could contribute to the game.

Whatever the reasons, UK Wheelchair Cricket decided there was scope for a sport that built on the basics of cricket, but specifically designed for fun and excitement in a wheelchair.

There are two versions, for teams and pairs

This format is played exclusively in wheelchairs and indoors. It allows people of all ages and both sexes to take part.

All players bat and bowl for an equal amount of overs, which means everyone gets to play their part in the teams’ victories and every player is guaranteed involvement – no one is stuck fielding on the boundary.

Teams are made up of six players, and rather like the traditional form of the game, there are a number of rules to master. You can download them from the UK Wheelchair Cricket website (link below).

Wheelchair Cricket has some great benefits – it can be played year-round, and is never rained off. There is scope for playing socially or more competitively if you prefer.

A good way of keeping active, which will improve your fitness and have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing.
 

Clever adapted sport solutions from Remap

remap archery solutionIn case you are not familiar with their work, Remap specialise in engineering solutions where there is no existing product to solve a problem. They were asked to produce an archery facility for users with disabilities at Calshot Activities Centre.

Their solution supports the bow at a variable height to cater for different size users. In addition, the bow can be removed from the support by a quick release mechanism, so that it can conveniently be used by those capable of standing as well as users in wheelchairs. The horizontal angle and tilt of the bow can be adjusted for aiming at the target.

The bow was equipped with an extension with release mechanism so that the bow string can be drawn and fixed in the extended position until the release mechanism is operated. With this provision, users with limited strength could have a helper to draw the bow, but then be able to aim and fire themselves. Where the user’s condition is such that they have difficulty holding the aim steady, the pan and tilt have locking screws.

image of remap adapted rifle in useThe bow-supporting device was constructed using a heavy duty photographic monopod with a pan and tilt head. These devices have a clip-in camera mount to which the bow and its curved tubular extension was attached. The monopod is telescopic with simple clamps for height adjustment. For some reason, camera monopods have the smaller diameter section at the bottom. Remap reversed this during construction, for greater resistance to horizontal strain, and the larger diameter section was mounted into an aluminium base tube to raise the whole apparatus, allowing for operation from the lowest wheelchair user to the tallest standing archer. The base tube was mounted on a plywood sheet in such a way that the weight of the user holds the system steady.

The system has also been adapted for rifle shooting (above right), and now that they have this equipment, the centre can offer archery and shooting to disabled students for whom it was previously impossible.

 

football wheelchair

Adapted sport for powerchair users

An exciting, tactical game, wheelchair football is currently the only team game for power chair users. Each 40-minute game involves teams of eight players competing against one another. These players regular substitute with one another, with a maximum of four members from each team on the pitch at any one time. They use their powerchairs, with specialist ‘bumper’ attachments fixed to the front, to control and pass an oversized 330mm football, and score goals.

There are 50 clubs playing across the UK (none yet in Wales), with a National League, WFA Cup and regional competitions taking place on a regular basis.

 

Here are some national organisations that can help with access to adapted sport activities:

assistive hang glider(links to external sites will open in a new browser window)

Take a look at adapted sports, and find the one that’s best for you on the Parasport website

British Hang-gliding and Paragliding Association
British Wheelchair Sports Foundation
English Federation of Disability Sport
Great British Wheelchair Basketball Association
Great British Wheelchair Rugby Association
Jubilee Sailing Trust
Disability Snowsport UK 
Powerchair Football
UK wheelchair cricket

 

Article ends – click to return to top or check out related resources below

Further reading and resources

We have information here about some of the surprising health benefits of computer gaming

Read more about the work of Remap here

Inclusive play equipment for disabled children can be found here

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