In addition to defending our country, we have our veterans to thank for showing us the benefits of exercise, even with the loss of leg function. Dating back to World War II, veteran’s inspired us with the continual desire to pursue competition in sport with the beginning of organized wheelchair basketball. Teams were first formed in the Veterans Administration Hospitals, which has evolved to form the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Because of increasing involvement in sports participation, paraplegics are now approaching the life expectancy of those without paralysis. Competition now includes other individual and team sports for canoeing to soccer. Name a sport and there is an alternative program for it.

Medical Benefits of Disabled Sports
  • Reduced Cholesterol
  • Improved strength and endurance
  • Reduced pain
  • Better diabetes control
  • Better mood
  • Development of new relationships

 Risks of Disabled Sports Participation

  • Increased arm and shoulder injuries
  • Increased risk of autonomic dysreflexia
  • Increased fracture risk with aggressive sports

The medical benefits of exercise are important for the overall health of a paraplegic. While there are risks to exercise, keeping your doctor’s appointments, maintaining the strength of your arms and shoulders with resistance training and taking care of injuries will keep you safe.

Learn about ways to exercise with leg weakness or paralysis.

Resources for Competitive Sports:

Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports, USA
wsusa.org
732-266-2634
Xtreme Wheelchair Sports
apparelyzed.com
American Wheelchair Bowling Association
awba.org
918-816-0799
Paralympic Games
paralympic.org
Outdoor Sports and Leisure
outdoor-sport-leisure.net
U.S. Handcycling
ushandcycling.org
Sport Wheelchairs
Sportaid.com

Reference
Emedicine.com: Sports Participation by Paraplegics