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10 of the Best Sports to Play Following a Spinal Cord Injury

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You may think that individuals with spinal cord injuries may have few options when it comes to taking part in sporting activities. But you would be wrong. Sustaining a spinal cord injury (SCI) that has resulted in some degree of paralysis often does not mean that you can no longer take part in and enjoy a wide variety of sports. Adapted equipment, more accessible sports, and fitness facilities and a heightened awareness of the individual needs of those with physical disabilities has resulted in an increase in the number of wheelchair users getting out there and becoming involved with the sport. For those with paralysis, keeping active and following healthy nutritional guidelines, like the ones mentioned here on epiduralstimulationnow.com, can help to drastically improve many aspects of life after injury.

Best Sports to Play Following a Spinal Cord Injury

Some of the most popular sports for those who have sustained a spinal cord injury include:


wheelchair golf

Golf offers a slower-paced, more refined way for individuals with a spinal cord injury to exercise. It’s a sociable sport that offers a unique opportunity to keep fit and enjoy the pleasures of the great outdoors.  Golf can be played whilst sitting in a wheelchair, by using a single rider golf cart.

Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair basketball is a competitive game that is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the USA. Especially good for individuals with strong trunk muscles, wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular team sports for wheelchair users.  Most of the standard rules and tactics are the same as regular basketball but some adaptations have been made in respect of dribbling and ball control, to accommodate for the use of the wheelchair within the sport.

Adapted Skiing

You may have never considered skiing as an accessible sport for those with a disability, but it is, and it’s a great way to keep active and enjoy the great outdoors.  It can be as fast paced or as relaxed as the partaking individual wishes it to be and there are several ways to enjoy the action on the piste. These include mono-skiing (a seat on a single central ski), bi-skiing (a seat on two skis) and sit-skiing, whereby the individual sits on a specially designed board ski or narrow sled. Skiing is also an excellent way to increase manual dexterity skills and strengthen the upper body. Vasu Sojitra is one such talented athlete who dominated the adapted skiing.

Para Dance Sport

Dancing in a wheelchair is an expressive experience and an effective way to keep fit and feel great at the same time.  It’s a versatile sport that lets disabled dancers to participate with each other, dance alone or partner up with more able-bodied dancers. All styles of dancing can still be enjoyed, including ballroom, Latin American and freestyle.


swimming pool

Swimming is a universally accessible sport that is perfect for individuals with a wide range of disabilities.  The buoyancy of the water helps the swimmer to feel supported, allowing for more independent enjoyment of the sport. Swimming also has a wide range of health benefits including helping to strengthen the major muscle groups and the cardiovascular system, without any of the physical stresses associated with high-impact pursuits.

Hand Cycling

Hand cycling is an adaptive sport that was first developed in the 1980s. It allows users to control the bicycle with their arms, which is ideal for those who are unable to move their legs.

Water Skiing

This high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled sport is another activity that can still be enjoyed by people with a wide variety of disabilities. It’s certainly possible to experience the thrill of this high-speed water experience but using specially adapted equipment instead of traditional water skis.  Those who partake in this activity may even choose to skim the surface of the water whilst in an inner tube or undertake a variety of tricks and jumps whilst on the water.

Wheelchair Tennis

This sport is in many ways identical to traditional tennis. It is played using the same sized court and rackets that you would expect to see in any other tennis match. One noticeable difference in the rules is that in wheelchair tennis, the ball is allowed to bounce twice, before it is returned to the opposing player, rather than only once.

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Wheelchair Motocross (WCMX) /Hardcore Sitting

Wheelchair motocross is a sport which has been specifically designed to allow individuals to ride bikes and perform stunts and tricks using their wheelchair.  This sport has gained a large following in recent years and Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, who has spina bifida, further bolstered the sport by when he became the first person to land a front flip, backflip, and double backflip whilst in a wheelchair.

Wheelchair Racing

wheelchair racing

Using specially designed and adapted wheelchairs, individuals can safely compete against each other both on the road and the track. Like running races, wheelchair-racing races also cover a variety of distances including 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 5K and 10K. Wheelchair racing helps to develop body strength and aerobic stamina as well as better chair control and faster reaction times.

So there we have it, 10 great sporting activities which can be enjoyed by wheelchair users on a regular basis.

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