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Games People Play - In a Wheelchair

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 2:02pm

Staying active while living with a disability may seem a daunting task, but taking part in wheelchair adapted games can help put sports back in your world or the world of someone you care for.

An individual does not have to be confined to a wheelchair to participate in a wheelchair sport. According to the rules of the Wheelchair Sports Federation, disabilities, such as multiple sclerosis or an amputation, that prevent someone from being able to play able-bodied players qualify.

Wheelchair sports can provide many benefits including socialization, improved hand-eye coordination, and improved upper body strength. They can help you blow off steam if you’ve been denied benefits and are working with a long-term disability attorney.

Wheelchair Basketball

The National Wheelchair Basketball Association was founded in 1949.  It grew out of the efforts of injured WWII veterans who wanted to return some normalcy to their lives. The game generally follows the same rules as NCAA basketball with a few exceptions. A standard basketball and net are used.

Powerchair Soccer

For a Soccer fan with access to a powerchair this may be the perfect sport. Powerchair Soccer is open to any disabled person five years and up who is able to safely operate a powerchair. This includes individuals who have suffered strokes or head injuries. This co-ed sport is played with an oversized soccerball that is maneuvered by plastic formed guards attached to the front of the player's wheelchair. According to the United States Power Soccer Association this is the first competitive team sport specifically designed for power wheelchairs.

Wheelchair Softball

This fun summer sport can be played by almost anyone with a disability. Played with a 16-in softball this game follows the slow pitch rules of the Amateur Softball Association of America with 15 exceptions made for wheelchair athletes. This game is played on a hard surface using manual wheelchairs.

Wheelchair Tennis

According to the Wheelchair Sports Federation Wheelchair Tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair adapted sports. The International Wheelchair Tennis Federation was founded in 1988. The game is played on a regulation tennis court and no modification to rackets or ball is required. Wheelchair Tennis is played according to standard tennis rules with the one exception being that the disabled player is allowed two bounces of the ball instead of one.

Wheelchair Fishing

If you enjoyed fishing as a hobby before your disability or if you've never been fishing but you'd like to give it a try there are those willing to help. The Paralyzed Veterans of America along with the Wheelin Sportsman NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation) are working to make sure that anyone with a disability can compete in open/team competition.

Wheelchair Bowling

The United States Bowling Congress has approved two adaptive devices for use by wheelchair bowling athletes. The snap handle ball has a spring-loaded valise-like handle installed for individuals who have problems gripping an ordinary ball. A bowling stick is similar to a shuffleboard stick--with someone aiding the player by placing the ball near the foul-line. The bowler then uses the stick to propel the ball down the lane.

Wheelchair Rugby

Wheelchair Rugby was originally named MurderBall and became an official game of the Paralympics in 2000. The sport became famous after the 2005 release of the documentary film of the same name. This is an aggressive game combining ice hockey, basketball, rugby, and handball. A manual customized wheelchair is required. 


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