How Your Child Can Become an Adaptive Athlete

Your child can be an athlete even after a physical disability or life-altering injury.

Has someone told your child that she couldn’t be an athlete because she has a physical disability or has had a life-altering injury? That may have been true in the past, but not any longer. The world of adaptive sports is constantly expanding with adaptive athletes including everyone from players who were born with physical disabilities to military veterans who were injured while on deployment. Together they challenge the stereotypes and perceived limitations to excel in their sport.

What are Adaptive Sports?

Adaptive sports are standard sports whose gameplay has been modified to meet the needs of athletes having physical disabilities. Take the form of wheelchair versions of sports, special visual aids for visually impaired athletes, or the use of custom carbon fiber prosthetics and braces by athletes with limb differences.

The purpose of adaptive sports is to make as minimal modifications as needed to allow the adaptive athletes to play. What shines through is the fiercely competitive nature and passion for excellence innate to each athlete.

What Type of Sports Can Adaptive Athletes Play?

Nearly any standard sport can be modified to meet the needs of adaptive athletes.

Powerlifting, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, cycling, swimming, archery, soccer, track/field, rowing, shooting, sled hockey, curling, snowboarding, and Nordic skiing are all sports which have adaptive competitions.

What are Some Adaptive Sports Organizations?

Sporting organizations are increasingly recognizing the benefits of adaptive sports and are hosting adaptive competitions. One of the most well-known adaptive sports organizations is the Paralympics.

The Paralympic Games are very similar to the Olympic Games in that they are an international sporting event held every two years, with competitions alternating between winter and summer sports. The Paralympics are even held in the same venues as the Olympics, and they take place shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

A recently developed large scale adaptive sports organization which has garnered a great deal of press is the Invictus Games. These games were started by Great Britain’s Prince Henry in 2016, and they feature wounded and injured military veterans from around the world competing in a full range of sports.

The Invictus Games were inspired by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Warrior Games which follow a similar format.

Are the Special Olympics Considered a Type of Adaptive Sports?

The Special Olympics is one of the most well-known high-level competitive organizations for persons with special needs. Special Olympics is not considered an adaptive sports organization because its athletes are those with primarily intellectual, not physical disabilities.

How Can I Start Training as an Adaptive Athlete?

Lions United has a team of personal trainers and coaches who are experienced and excited to work with you. Whether you want to polish skills you already have and take your game to the next level or to begin learning a brand-new sport, we will put a plan in place to help you reach your goals. Stop by and see what we have to offer!

Lions United featured on Fox 9 In Twin Cities