Suggestions for Becoming Involved in Differently Abled or Disability Sport
Although this brief background and history was designed to give an overview of some of the structure of sports for the differently abled, one of the best ways to learn is to simply become involved in a given sport and recreational activity. Below are some simple tips to get started.
Talk To Your Physician
Be certain and check with your physician prior to initiating any sports, exercise or activity program. Certain medical conditions such as quadriplegia and diabetes (to name only a few) will require special considerations. A few resources for such considerations include name textbook as well as the Disability Fact Sheet and Aquatics Resource pages. However, none of these resources should be substituted for an open dialogue with your physician to help develop a safe and enjoyable plan for sports and related activity participation.
Hook Up With An Organization
There are any number of sports organizations that oversee and structure activities for a given group of persons and related abilities. Many time such organizations are a good starting point and can direct individuals to local opportunities and resources in their own communities. Visit our related links page see an overview of such organizations.
Visit A Recreation Center
More and more community recreation centers are making headway in increasing programming and accessibility to people of all abilities. In some communities such as Dallas, certain centers cater to persons with different abilities. In fact, the city of Dallas has a designated liaison who works to assist all persons gain access to community recreational resources.
Attend An Event
Many sports teams in an area, be they competitive sports or recreational leagues, have games, tournaments and scrimmages on a regular basis. One of the chief complaints of athletes with different abilities is the lack of media coverage and spectator sport. In visiting related sporting events, you will not only get an opportunity to learn more about a given sport or activity, you also are advocating its development and growth.
Find A Mentor/Be A Mentor
It is not uncommon for many sports and recreation teams to be coached and organized by the players themselves. This provides an excellent opportunity for people of all walks of life to socialize and connect through the shared experience of different ability sport. Local recreation facilities and sports organizations are almost always looking for someone to lend a hand, so that any person can contribute to the experience. As a future expansion of this webpage, a profile page of various players and athletes will hopefully be available to illustrate the number of strong athletes and potential role models that exist in sport for persons with different abilities.
Read All About It
A number of publications are available which specialize in sports and recreation issues for persons of different abilities. Paleastra, Sports N Spokes and Disability Today are just a few of the publications listed on our useful links and resources pages.
Written by Amy McBride
A.P.E. Specialist, Occupational Therapist
Ph.D. student, Texas Woman’s University
Please reprint only with permission of the author
page last updated 1/2/2013 4:34 PM