Getting Out There Again as a Wheelchair User
After recently spending some time in the hospital supporting new patients, a common question was about ‘attending events and functions with mates and family’ and whether it was possible.
The answer is yes, you can!
Booking these events are a little different, more detailed and time-consuming. The reality is you need prior preparation.
Preparation and spontaneity are the keys to life. Sporting grounds, movie theatres and major entertainment venues offer accessible viewing.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to attend football, cricket, concerts and a mediaeval festival, these were all fantastic days out with friends and support workers.
When attending there are designated areas that allow for a family member, friend and or a support worker. Sometimes you need to book directly through the venue, or the major ticketing companies.
To be honest, this system is complicated but always improving for the better, which is fantastic. The seating configurations vary – for example, at the motorsport there was a covered viewing platform with TV. Whilst at the football I had the option of choosing a sideline or behind the goalposts.
When you purchase your tickets, they may include free public transport on the day of the event. This allows me to use the bus, train, tram or ferry. And when purchasing I try to find the best position, along with the ease of access and transportation (not always possible).
Personally, I always allow extra time to arrive and leave after an event, as everyone is excited to attend and looking to purchase, food, beverages, and merchandise, along with mingling with their family and friends.
At the end of the event getting through a crowd of 20,000 people, is like rounding up 1000 cattle! It’s every man for themselves, as they try to find their car or head to public transport.
Most recently I found out football membership also allows people with a disability the same benefits and be able to sit in a designated wheelchair-accessible area. It is always worthwhile to ask the venue if they accept concessions or companion cards.
About the author
Lindsay, who was born and grew up in Brisbane, Australia, obtained a spinal cord injury several years ago which sees him getting around on four wheels instead of two legs. His injury hasn’t stopped him from making the most out of what he refers to as “my beautiful life”.
Lindsay’s journey began on the last day of grade 12 at the age of 17 when he went for a celebratory swim at Southbank, Brisbane and broke his neck at vertebrae C5. Over the last 28 years, Lindsay has done public speaking at universities, conferences, fundraisers, and within healthcare settings.
He also works part-time, travel, attend the gym and volunteers as a peer support mentor for the newly injured and their families. Lindsay is an advocate for disability awareness and his goal is to help people and their families who are in similar situations.