Athletic Options After a Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries can leave victims with lifelong injuries and limitations. They can make it difficult for your injured loved one to remain active. If your loved one was an athlete before their injury, facing a future without sports can be very challenging. And even if your loved one was not an athlete, staying active is essential in maintaining both mental and physical health. Luckily, there still may be athletic options for your loved one, even if they have sustained a spinal cord injury. Depending on your loved one’s type of injury, they may be able to participate in modified versions of mainstream sports. You can learn more about these athletic options here.

Playing Hockey

Those who are disabled may be able to participate in a version of hockey known as “sled hockey”. Of course, sled hockey is not exactly the same as traditional hockey, but there are similarities. Players use pucks and pads, as in traditional hockey, they play the sport on the same sized rink, and the rules are the same. However, players sit on sleds with hockey blades on the bottom. Picks attached to hockey sticks are used to propel players forward on the ice.

Sled hockey can get very competitive, like traditional hockey can. In addition, this sport is part of the Paralympics, so your loved one could compete at a very high level.

Playing Rugby

Wheelchair rugby is another fast paced, competitive sport that has been adapted to accommodate those who are disabled is rugby. This sport is played indoors in modified wheelchairs. While tackling isn’t utilized in the traditional sense, wheelchairs do crash into each other. This sport can also be played at a high level.

Playing Basketball

Many sports are adapted for use in a wheelchair. Basketball was actually one of the first to be played from a wheelchair. Your loved one can play in a fun league near where they live, or they can play in a competitive league. This adaptive form of basketball is similar to traditional basketball, except it is played from a wheelchair. You can learn more about this sport through the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

Playing Tennis

Wheelchair tennis is an alternative to traditional tennis, and its popularity is rapidly increasing throughout the United States. Tennis courts, rules, and equipment don’t have to be modified to accommodate wheelchair use. Aside from wheelchair use, the only major difference is that the tennis ball can bounce twice instead of once before it has to be hit.

Playing Golf

If your loved one has retained use of their upper body, they might be able to play an adapted version of golf. There are adaptive golf clubs available, as well as golf carts that can accommodate those in wheelchairs. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act demands that all golf courses in the United States accommodate those who are disabled.

Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is another option that your loved one may have after sustaining a spinal cord injury. If they have some use of their legs, they can plan lower body workouts. Alternatively, if they have use of their hands and arms, they can plan upper body workouts. Many machines can be used sitting down, and many free weight movements actually require sitting.

Finding a Fit

This is just a short list of some popular sports that your loved one may want to participate in after a spinal cord injury. There are plenty of other options available as well, such as horseback riding, hand cycling, skiing, and more. Chances are that if your loved one is interested in a sport, there is a version that has been modified for the disabled. Discuss these options with your loved one. Staying active can be a great way to help them recover mentally and physically from their injury.

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