Wheelchair use and sports don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Today there are a wide variety of wheelchairs that are great for participating in recreational activities. These are the sleek wheelchairs you may have seen Paralympians and other adaptive sports stars using, but they’re not just for elite athletes.
In addition to the wheelchair technology that makes participating in sports possible for people with limb loss, there are also more opportunities to participate than ever before. With the popularity of activities like wheelchair basketball, tennis, racing, softball, and rugby (also known as “murderball”), there seems to be a wheelchair sport for almost everyone. And have you seen those extreme wheelchair users who do amazing stunts in bicycle and skateboard parks, complete with all the flips, twists, and wheelies? (See https://bit.ly/2RZxpMb.)
The wheelchairs for adaptive sports activities are often ultra-lightweight and are made for speed and maneuverability. They can have angled wheels, straps, a low center of gravity, a wider wheelbase, anti-tipping equipment to help keep you from flipping over or tumbling out, and may also be extra durable.
Here are a few examples of what’s available:
THE COLOURS HAMMER
The company that produces this chair calls it “the ultimate contact sports wheelchair.” Its large aluminum tubing frame and wide design would likely make it a good chair for rugby and hockey.
WINGS FROM EAGLE SPORTSCHAIRS
This chair is made for racing. It comes in black, red, green, or blue and has a kneeling pad as well as a foot rest.
COLOURS BC – SKATE CHAIR
If you want to hit the bicycle and skate parks and perform stunts, this chair (or a similar one such as the WCMX Full Suspension Chair from Box Wheelchairs) could be what you need.
Some participants in these sports achieve a high level of success and end up going to various competitions, including the Paralympics. Some even go professional. Regardless of the level you want to reach, these wheelchairs can offer you the opportunity to meet your fitness goals and enjoy activities that you may have once thought were off limits to you.
For more information about various wheelchair sports organizations, visit www.livingwithamplitude.com/resource-directory.
Once you decide which sport you’re interested in, you can do a more in-depth search for the wheelchair model that’s best for you. Although these chairs can be expensive, there are organizations that help amputees acquire them to participate in sports. For more information and to see if you meet the organizations’ criteria, visit the links below:
SKATEBOARDING FOR WHEELCHAIR USERS
The name Wheelchair Motorcross (WCMX) was coined by disabled athlete Aaron Fotheringham. To learn about this sport and his story, visit www.aaronfotheringham.com.
TOP IMAGE: Aaron Fotheringham