Circle of male wheelchair basketball players in 20s and 30s meeting in gymnasium and reaching in for team high-five. Adaptive sports.

Long gone are the days when a spinal cord injury (SCI) meant living a life of limited mobility and restricted activities.

These days many people with SCI live rich, full lives that are nearly the same as they did pre-injury!

The History of Adaptive and Group Sports

One of the ways people with SCI have fun and challenge themselves is through adaptive sports.

Adaptive sports began with wheelchair basketball, shortly after World War II. The people of that era would be amazed to see the wide range of sports now available to people with SCI, including skiing, dance, hockey, surfing, scuba diving, bicycling, snowboarding, and equestrian. And this list is only the beginning!

Technological advances continue to make more sports available to people with SCI and the broad range of adaptive sports allows people interested in practically any sport to stay active and engaged.

Adaptive sports come in all shapes and sizes: competitive, non-competitive, indoor, outdoor, teams, and individuals.

The Importance of Adaptive Sports

Sports of any kind are good for mental, physical, and emotional health, and help people stay connected and engaged within their communities.

One of the most important aspects of adaptive sports is its ability to build confidence and a sense of inclusion for people with SCI of all ages and stages of life.

As much as the world, and technology, have improved the independence, freedom, comfort, and wellness for individuals with SCI, overcoming the challenges of life post-injury takes a mental and emotional toll.

Sports are one of the best ways for people to have a sense of belonging, challenge themselves mentally and physically, mentor others, and feel empowered to face any obstacles in their path.

Participants in a recent study regarding adaptive sports revealed several reported benefits, including:

  • Physical wellness
  • Improved strength and balance
  • Mood regulation
  • Maintenance of a healthy weight
  • Improved function for daily living

Another study demonstrated that people who participated in adaptive sports had improved social/family lives, higher rates of employment, and fewer bouts of depression and anxiety.

Access to Adaptive Sports & Sports Groups for People with SCI

It’s important to continue to build awareness around the benefits of adaptive sports to ensure access to group sports participation for all people with SCI.

The coronavirus has made in-person sports participation more challenging for everyone and organizations like Move United have taken adaptive sports participation online in response.

Even when not faced with group participation obstacles due to the pandemic, knowing where to start when seeking an adaptive or group sports program may feel daunting. One place to start is in community forums at organizations like Disabilities-R-Us and Spinal Cord Injury Zone which have resources, chat rooms, and community forums to inquire about sports participation opportunities near you.

Other resources for adaptive and group sports include:

Join the Thrive Community!

Images of person on surfboard“I absolutely LOVE adaptive surfing,” Scott Chesney, Thrive Advocate shares in our Thrive Community on Facebook.

Join Scott and hundreds of inspiring individuals with disabilities in our very own Thrive Community!

The Thrive Community Facebook Group is a private space for any person with a disability, as well as caregivers and healthcare providers that touch their lives.

Our purpose is to provide a safe, educational space for group members to ask every question, connect with their peers, and empower each other through communication and connection. Our conversations are led by incredible individuals who themselves are living and thriving.

For more enlightening resources, information, and discussion, join the Enemeez® Thrive Community today!

Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Alliance Labs, LLC and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2021 Summit Pharmaceuticals and Alliance Labs, LLC.

Sources:

https://msktc.org/sci/factsheets/adaptive_sports

https://sciprogress.com/spinal-cord-injury-sport-benefits/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5924421/

https://www.180medical.com/blog/adaptive-sports-for-people-with-disability/