Wheelchair and mobility scooter users may think they have to give up on a lot of their leisure activities, but that is not the case. Mobility scooters can help improve your independence and sense of freedom, and trying new activities is included in that. Read on to see what sports you may be interested in as a wheelchair or all-terrain mobility scooter user.
Wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular adapted sports, with several leagues and international competitions. Wheelchair basketball can be played competitive, but is also suitable for those who want to play a fun game with friends. The dimensions of the court and height of the basket are the same as classic basketball, and matches are the same length, which requires players to be in decent shape. The popularity of wheelchair basketball also comes from the social aspect; playing on a team can be a significant boost in confidence for someone who has been faced with sudden changes to their mobility.
Adapted hockey can be done in either a manual wheelchair or electric wheelchair which has made it a fast-growing sport for people with all types of disabilities. There are few differences from classic hockey such as a synthetic ball which won’t damage or be damaged by a wheelchair, and pitches with boundaries to stop the ball going out of play. What makes wheelchair hockey inclusive, however, is the stick. Depending on the players’ ability or preference if just playing hockey as a friendly sporting activity, they can choose a manual stick or T stick. The manual stick is the same as a conventional hockey stick, but lighter, and a T stick can be attached to a wheelchair.
Adapted fencing has been a Paralympic sport since 1960 and is a great sport to try if you want to improve agility and reflexes. Adapted fencing requires the wheelchairs to be anchored to the floor before the dual starts, and though it may sound like it restricts movement, it is, in fact, the opposite. The wheelchair users have to use their arms and hands with greater dexterity. Fencing is a sport which can be played by people with all types of mobility and disability issues, and is ideal for building upper body strength.
Another sport which focuses on your upper body is archery and does need much adaptation. The rules and scoring are the same as Olympic archery, and you simply need to hit a target a specific distance away using a bow and arrow, usually 90m. The differences from traditional archery are mechanical releases for the bow and mounts to assist if you have limited arm movement. Strapping can also be used to keep the body supported. Regardless of age, skill and disability, archery is a sport which can be done as recreation or seriously.
Tennis is another popular adapted sport and follows some of the same rules as traditional tennis such as the size of the court, height of the net and type of racket. It differs in other ways, such as the ball can bounce twice and land outside the court on the second bounce. Like the other sports mentioned above, tennis has physical benefits for strengthening the upper body and improving core strength. Wheelchair adapted sports have also been shown to have mental and social benefits for people who play them, no matter if they have played the game or if they do it competitively.
For people who prefer to use a mobility scooter than a wheelchair, then these sports are still easily achievable, you just may require a bit of extra work and teaching in manoeuvring the larger, powered scooters around. For more advice and guides on mobility scooters, take a look at some of our previous blog posts: