Today, there are more options than ever for those who have physical disabilities to engage in sports and other recreational activities.
One woman in particular, Luann Bannister, was recently featured on Greenville Online. Having suffered a severed spinal cord as the result of a car accident, the Greenville, SC native struggled to find athletic opportunities for people in wheelchairs. Bannister’s story isn’t uncommon, and neither is the outcome.
The Growth of Adaptive Sports in the U.S.
Today, there are countless adaptive sports organizations, team, and athletes throughout the United States as well as the rest of the world. In Greenville, SC, the adaptive sports offered to wheelchair users is growing, thanks, in part, to Bannister. Not only did Bannister learn to play adaptive sled hockey, she is also leading the adaptive sled hockey program, which is designed to expand the recreational activities offered to people with disabilities in the Greenville, SC area.
The adaptive sled hockey program is being offered through the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital [http://www.ghs.org/rcp#.VNUaJGR4qjM], thanks to a grant from the South Carolina Development Disabilities Council [http://www.scddc.state.sc.us/]
Breaking Barriers, Moving Beyond the Disability
Bannister’s story is just one inspiring example to show how physical disabilities are no longer preventing people from moving ahead with their lives. Part of the program that Bannister leads involves having therapists meet with disabled people at the hospital to help them pick the sports or activities that interest them most. Then, together, they make a plan to move beyond their disability and become more engaged in the community doing something that they enjoy.
Recreation therapist and project coordinator at Roger Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, Kristen Caldwell cited the importance as well as the impact of sports in the lives of those faced with physical disabilities:
“Often … they’re sitting at home and bored, lonely, isolated or depressed. We want them to be out doing meaningful, fun things. We want to make sure we’re getting people active and engaged in their communities.”
Some of the sports options currently offered include activities such as: cycling, hockey, basketball, and kayaking. Still, even more sports and recreation activities are being planned for 2016.