You’re Able!: Overcoming Challenges through Sports

man playing lacrosse

Having a disability is challenging. Persons with disabilities face discrimination within the community. In some places, they are often excluded from certain activities such as sports because some view physical and mental disabilities as a handicap.

However, there are lots of people who can prove that having such does not make them incapable. They can participate in various activities; these people prove that a disability is not a handicap but a challenge that can be overcome.

Participating in Sports

The Pennsylvania State University stresses the importance of sports. Through sports, a sense of discipline is formed. The value of camaraderie and teamwork is also learned by participating in such activities. Participating in sports can also teach people the value of hard work to win; it also teaches individuals to accept defeat and try harder the next time.

Aside from important values, sports also have obvious physical benefits. This helps individuals stay fit and develop endurance. Sports also have positive effects on our heart, and our brain as physical activities help promote blood flow within the body.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that participating in team sports is better than individual ones. By joining a team, athletes suffer less anxiety. This proves sport’s mental health impact on a person’s overall well-being.

With sports’ many benefits, persons with disabilities must participate in these activities as well. Through participation in sports activities, a person with a disability can form new friendships and end the stigma that they cannot participate in sports.

Persons with disabilities in Sports

Persons with disabilities can do all sorts of sports. From archery, rugby, lacrosse, to table tennis, the sky is the limit.

The best way to start sports is to ask a doctor or specialists for recommendations. They can suggest which type of sport will be enjoyable and can benefit your health immensely. Mobility equipment suppliers are there to help you perform well in your chosen sports activity.

When winter comes, try snow skiing. Using adaptive equipment, individuals with disabilities can perform the sport either sitting or standing. Those with less strength and coordination can ski while sitting. There are also tandem skis that help individuals ski with the assistance of another person. A visually impaired skier can seek the help of a trained guide.

Horseback riding can help enhance an individual’s physical, emotional, and social wellness. According to the American Hippotherapy Association, hippotherapy is a type of therapy using horses. Through this, a person’s strength and muscle coordination can be improved.

By using modified bikes, persons with disabilities can cycle. Tricycles with handlebars assist an individual in having more stability. Hand cycling can also be done if a person finds it hard to sit upright. For those with visual and hearing problems, tandem cycling is recommended.

These are only some sports you can join in. Your choices are unlimited. Simply searching online can lead you to certain organizations that provide facilities for the sport of your choice.

man on wheelchair playing tennis

Famous Athletes with Disabilities

There are plenty of athletes with disabilities who emerge victorious in the field of sports. These people inspire and are proof that a disability cannot hinder you from achieving your dreams.

Bethany Hamilton is one of the most popular athletes with disabilities. She is known around the world because of the movie Soul Surfer. Because of her admirable fighting spirit, lots of people were inspired.

Hamilton is a professional surfer from Hawaii who lost her left arm due to a shark attack. This did not stop her from participating in surfing competitions, though. Using her custom-made surfboard, she swam right back into the water after recovering and started surfing again. She has won several competitions since, including the 2005 NSSA National Competition, where she placed first.

Another popular athlete with a disability is Jessica Long. Born with fibular hemimelia, a disease where a child is born with a missing bone on the lower leg, she had to undergo leg amputation. But by using prostheses to walk and through her powerful determination, she became the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic Team in Athens in 2004.

Because long started her sports career when she was 12, she has already gathered massive amounts of gold medals. Long is a breaker of world records and has gained nine gold medals in the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships in South Africa. She was also named U.S. Paralympic Sportswoman of the Year in 2012.

These inspiring stories, plus the many health benefits of sports, should convince you to join a sports team now. With a disability or not, the only limit to a person is himself.


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