Hello and welcome back to A Nu You: Maximizing Life with a Disability! Today’s topic is sports and recreation! If you are like me and sports were so much a part of your life before acquiring your disability, then wheelchair sports can be just as engaging and rewarding. However, if you are someone who never played sports before acquiring your disability or have lived with a disability your entire life and have never played any sports, that is absolutely fine too! As we always discuss here at A Nu You, it is so important to be open to new experiences, especially those that can deliver so much to your life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! While sports may not be of interest to you, participating in them may just give you the outlet, the exercise and/or the social connection you are seeking. 

While there are certainly limitations living with a mobility disability, wheelchair sports or adaptive sports are modified to take into account these limitations. These modifications do not make wheelchair or adaptive sports any less competitive or recreational (depending on what you are seeking). Determining whether you want to play sports competitively and/or recreationally is not a major decision that you have to make but will have to be addressed at some point. There may even be some sports that you play competitively and others you play recreationally. The ball is in your court…always!

I remember back in 1986 when I was sitting up in my hospital bed at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in NJ and there was a knock at my door. A gentleman in a wheelchair introduced himself, rolled into my room with a basketball on his lap, and quickly fired a chest pass to me. I quickly put up my hands in front of my own chest and caught it. He said, “You can still play this game.” I was hooked. I played competitive wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis for 7 years. Today, I am still competitive in whatever I do, but it is safe to say that I play sports just for the fun of it. I still love to shoot baskets from time to time, love to swim and really love adaptive surfing. Adaptive rowing is very intriguing to me now as well. While I loved playing sports on my feet, I do not feel that wheelchair sports have been any less competitive and rewarding for me.

The reasons people get involved in sports and recreation can vary. Some still have those competitive juices running through their veins. Some develop that competitiveness. Others are simply looking for some exercise while others see it as an opportunity to socialize with others. Whatever is possibly peaking your interest, you have nothing to lose by exploring sports. 

If you are interested, I would recommend you first take advantage of the Internet and do a search on “Wheelchair sports” and simply see that wide variety of sports that are offered.  There are indoor and outdoor sports, sports that are played in warmer weather and sports that are played in colder weather. There are not too many “able-bodied” sports that have not been modified for those with mobility disabilities. There are some changes to the rules, but for the most part the rules remain the same.  Then I would suggest you reach out to your rehab center or hospital. Most rehab centers have a Recreation Therapy department and will be able to help you explore what sports or sports may be best for you at the time based on your interest and ability level.

So here are today’s Nu Challenges for you:
  1. Go online today and research wheelchair sports and pick at least one that you will try.
  2. Contact your local rehab center and see what they have to offer.
  3. See wheelchair sports as another way for you to exercise and socialize.

If you have any questions or comments regarding today’s topic, please email me at scott.chesney@numotion.com. Until next time, when we will be talking about being sexual while living with a disability (Yeah we are going to go there), thanks for listening and playing full out in creating A Nu You!

Scott Chesney


Scott Chesney