Starting in 7th grade to graduation from high school, students with disabilities can participate in a couple of varsity sports. These include adapted soccer in the fall, floor hockey in the winter, and softball and bowling in the spring. When the big day comes to graduate, parents and students may wonder what sports opportunities are out there for them, since there are just a few collegiate adapted sports out there. I have gathered some options below, both recreational and competitive.
One recreational program for athletes with disabilities is the We Love To Play program held at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. This 28-week pick-up style sports extravaganza, which was founded in 1995, follows the adapted athletics high school pattern and gives adults the chance to continue to play the sports that they enjoy. We Love To Play rotates between football (typically just for a few weeks), soccer, floor hockey, and softball from September – May. The typical cost for this program is $3 per week. Click here to learn more about this fun activity.
For those looking to be on a more competitive team, power soccer is a great option. Even though there are a few recreational teams, most power soccer athletes are looking for an intense outlet. The power soccer season is usually 10 months long, cumulating with national tournaments in June. Teams usually travel to play games to rack up the required twelve games needed to make Nationals. This is a great sport if someone wants to learn strategy, communication, pass and shoot a ball, and compete at a high level. Power soccer even has a 10-team World Cup every four years or so. Cost depends on where you play. To learn more about power soccer, click here.
Athletes who have better fine-motor skills might be interested in power hockey. Power hockey is essentially hockey for power chair users. The players who have enough strength to hold a stick and have an easier time maneuvering their chairs play as forwards. The ones who have more severe conditions have their sticks taped to their chairs and play defense. Players need to move a whiffle ball down a court and shoot it on net. Minnesota has its own league, which will run from May to September this year. Like power soccer, power hockey also has Nationals, which is called the PowerHockeyCup, taking place in July. The cost in Minnesota is $40 per season. To find out more about the Minnesota division, click here.
Disabled athletes who really want extreme action should try wheelchair rugby. Wheelchair rugby is for people who have severe disabilities but still can take hard hits and enjoy fast-paced action. Wheelchair rugby combines basketball, handball, ice hockey, and rugby. The point of this game is force through the defense and cross a goal line to score a point. According to usqra.org, anything goes, except for “slapping, hitting, punching, gouging out eyes, biting off ears.” Wheelchair rugby might be the most rough adapted sport out there. This sport is part of the Summer Paralympics, which occur every four years. The cost of this sport is dependable on where you play. To learn more, click here.
These are just a few adapted sports options. Just make sure that you do research in order to choose the appropriate sport for you or your child. For more on adapted sports and to find helpful links, click here.
Written by: Michael L. Sack