This past year we have seen the amazing display of sports (and sportsmanship) during the Olympics and the Paralympics. The indomitable spirit of all the athletes, both able-bodied and handicapped, should be something every person appreciates. Many people feel that competitive sports is off-limits to those with handicaps and that is just plain wrong. A multitude of handicaps can be overcome to allow everyone and anyone to participate in their favorite sport and succeed. As you can see by the chart below, Special Olympics reaches out to millions of athletes across the globe to in handicapped athletes a platform to ply their trade.
Overcoming a handicap to play a sport just takes a little perseverance and maybe some trial and error. You should always consult your doctor or physical therapist before undertaking any sporting event with a handicap so you don’t place yourself in danger of injury. There are a multitude of sports available for those with handicaps (both physical and mental). As long as you are healthy enough to participate, just find the piece of adaptive equipment that allows you to compete against those similarly handicapped!! As we have seen from the Paralympics or Special Olympics, these athletes have the same drive and desire that any able-bodied athletes possesses. For instance, many races just require the right wheelchair in order to participate in many road races. No longer does the inability to utilize your legs keep you from racing or maybe playing basketball. You can avoid wear and tear to your hands by simply using wheelchair gloves for a sure grip and avoid potential blisters or calluses. They are available in either full finger or open finger varieties so you can choose what works for you.
Safety is priority one with any sport, but is critical when we are dealing with someone handicapped. To diminish the risk of head injuries, the use of a lightweight helmet or a protective helmet not only prevents a possible concussion but can help protect those with neurological disorders during athletic participation. Many autistic children can exhibit behaviors of lashing out so be sure to protect their head against any kind of collision or wear equipment that minimizes their trigger. One place that is vulnerable to injury for any athlete let alone a person with a handicap is the elbow. Through the use of an elbow pad an injury can be avoided or at least minimized. Many times when we first get started training for an athletic endeavor we may strain or pull a muscle. This may be even more complicated when a child on the autism spectrum is involved. Compression therapy could be used proactively to avoid any muscle strains and may actually be soothing to your child (depending on their trigger). This could include neoprene sleeves to protect hamstrings or even knees and elbows.
As we all know, activity (any activity) is good for our overall health. Participating in sports builds a sense of teamwork and camaraderie that is special. You should check your state’s Special Olympics program for any information. It can also give a sense of achievement and the will to succeed can give someone the drive to accomplish what they may have previously thought impossible.
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
In 2006, ...
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