The first time I watched a game of powerchair football was 12 years ago. At the time, I had no idea what to expect. I already knew about other adaptive sports, but I didn’t know that people in wheelchairs could play football.
It seemed like there would be a lot of difficulties regarding who could play, how to play, and where to play. But once I saw my first game, I understood what an enjoyable and inclusive environment powerchair football games provided.
People With Limited Upper Body Strength Can Participate
The first thing I learned was that anyone who can drive a wheelchair could participate. A lot of adaptive sports require good upper body strength. In powerchair football, you can have quadriplegia or severe muscle spasticity and still play. The use of power chairs and special bumpers allows anyone to maneuver around hit the ball with just a tiny movement of their hand.
I appreciated the fact that this sport offered an opportunity for fun and exercise to people who had a more involved spinal cord injury. But it was not limited to that group. Friends who had more muscle control could also play, as long as they used the same type of chair as the others. This made powerchair football a good sports option for friends that had differing abilities.
Powerchair Football Is An Inclusive Environment
Because of the way you play powerchair football, it is not necessary to divide up teams by age or gender. In the game I watched, boys and girls played together, and there was no splitting up of the teams into age groups.
The use of the powerchair and bumpers means that everyone has the same opportunity to move with a certain amount of speed and power. Smaller people will not be run over or surpassed by larger people because the game is not about muscles and strength. The game is about strategy.
Bad Weather Can’t Stop Powerchair Football
Unlike traditional football, powerchair football can’t be rained out. Since it is played inside, in a gym, the sport can be enjoyed in all kinds of weather, year round. Powerchairs move much better on hard floor surfaces, which is why the game is played inside. But that also adds the benefit of being able to disregard the weather.
I’ve been to many outside sporting events where I was miserably hot or cold. Some games have left me soaked from the rain. It’s nice to know that whether you are an athlete or a spectator, you can enjoy powerchair football in a climate-controlled environment.
How Can I Find A Team?
After watching my first powerchair football game, I wondered why I had never heard of it before. I made sure to get the team’s contact information so I could share it with others.
The best way to find a local team is to ask your friends, doctors, or therapists if they know of one. If this fails, you can search online with keywords that include “powerchair football” and the name of your town. Another good resource is the European Powerchair Football Association. They have a Member Countries page that allows you to search for a national association near you.
Autor: Annie Beth Donahue is a professional writer with a health and disability focus. You can find her at www.anniebethdonahue.com