An Introduction To Wheelchair Sports

With news articles and reports published every day stating the benefits of being involved with sport and sport teams, we all know how important it is to get regular exercise. Alongside an improvement to your health, weight loss, increased muscle tone and strength, exercise has a proven ability to positively change your mood, especially when undertaken in groups. While the health benefits are an obvious factor, getting together with others and being social can bring about a higher sense of self-esteem and the feeling of being able to take on a challenge, whether together as a team or alone. With that being said, some with mobility problems or ailments may feel that they can’t get involved with sport. However, thanks to its phenomenal success at past Paralympic Games and other events, the popularity of wheelchair sport is on the rise, and is open to anyone using a wheelchair. In other words, a form of exercise accessible to everyone!

Disability NDSOOne of the first places to visit for more information on getting involved with wheelchair sport is the British Wheelchair Athletic Association. Established in 1982 to help promote the awareness of track and field athletic events for people using wheelchairs due to disability, no major international event since 1984 has gone ahead without members of the BWAA involved. The sports backed by the BWAA include the shot, discus, javelin, club (similar to discus), and the pentathlon, with many records held by its members across the events. With an ongoing programme created to help and encourage young/new athletes, the BWAA is the first port of call for anyone looking to get involved with the more serious, competitive side of wheelchair sport.

For those looking for something away from traditional athletics, WheelPower may be the association for you. Passionate about inspiring disabled people and wheelchair users to lead active, healthy lifestyles, WheelPower promote a whole variety of sports, including:

  • Archery
  • Field athletics
  • Hand cycling
  • Ice sledge hockey
  • Powerlifting
  • Shooting
  • Table tennis
  • Basketball
  • Bowls
  • Fencing
  • Racing
  • Rugby
  • Tennis

Alongside inspiring adults to take part, their Junior Sport programmes – including sport camps and the National Junior Games – make sport accessible to disabled and wheelchair-bound children, encouraging them to improve their physical fitness, psychological outlook, and give them a feeling of independence.

Standard-Life-GB-Mens-Simon-Brown-1.644x506One of the UK’s most popular and well-loved wheelchair sports is basketball. The British Wheelchair Basketball League has been involved in the sport since its formation in 1974, with the sport itself recognised since the 1940s. Originally a rehabilitation activity for spinal cord injury patients, the National League now consists of 65 teams playing across 9 divisions. The sport embraces a wide range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, amputees, and paraplegics, as well as able-bodied players, meaning it’s open to virtually anyone able to use and manoeuvre a wheelchair!

With a whole range and variety of sports open to wheelchair users, there’s endless possibilities available to anyone interested in getting involved. From gentler activities such as bowls or archery, through to the competitive world of field athletics, there’s something for everyone. To find a sport club near you, Parasport provide a location service to help you get started.

In terms of our own products, CareCo supply a wide range of wheelchairs and accessories suitable for use alongside. From Travel and Transit chairs to the Self-Propelled variety, we’re the company you can trust when it comes to taking back your mobility and independence.

Will Harrison

Will Harrison is the founder and managing director of CareCo. He has worked in the mobility industry his entire life and grown CareCo from a grass roots business in his family home to the UK's leading mobility retailer with nationwide mobility showrooms and operating in the global market.