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Many people suffer from a disability in their life, some permanently whilst others it may be temporary but why can’t you still enjoy an active life? Just because you have been dealt with a disability, really doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the enjoyment of sport and an active life to it’s fullest ever again. If you were a keen sportsperson prior to the disability, then chances are that you would absolutely want to continue in the modified version of your old self. There may be some compromises to be made, some hurdles to jump and modifications but it can be done.
Once you have accepted the status quo, and come to terms with your position, then you will be able to learn new skills and enjoy sports again. Here is a few to select from:
One such organisation is The Disabled Surfers Association which was established in 1986 by Gary Blaschke after a motorcycle accident which he lost his knee cap and under went extensive rehabilitation. He saw a void that needed to be filled as over the years, many surfers with disabilities have unfortunately, been loners with no one to help them get back into the water. Many suffer from disabilities that the general public would not consider a disability.
From asthmatics to joint injuries to paraplegic, many people have found friendship, support and have renewed their interest in surfing. There is a branch of DSA on the Sunshine Coast for those wishing to get back into the surf.
Another group that understands the needs of disabled persons wanting an active life is The Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association. Apart from sporting groups, they also offer rehabilitation and educational classes. Their Sports CONNECT Queensland offers a pathway to connect sporting minded disabled persons with local community sporting groups.
One of our local heros is Tracey Jackson and proudly a YHC client. She has spent much of her 30’s in a wheelchair so far, but that hasn’t stopped her aiming for a spot in the Australian Team for Target Shooting at the next Paralympics. That’s not the whole scope though. We go with her to training and competitions, to help load her rifle so she just has to aim. Certainly proof that her disability is no barrier to participating in sport.
Why not enjoy a swim on a hot day too – even in your wheelchair? Finding a place in the sand is as Aussie as barbecuing snags and playing cricket on Australia Day but the beach can prove an un-navigable nightmare to people in wheelchairs until now that there are beach access mats available. These mats are made of 100 per cent recycled polyester for exactly this purpose. Interestingly the design is based on the matting used by US Marines for vehicular beach landing operations and it is non-slip and drains easily. The matting can also include a T-shaped turning area.
Even horse riding can be made possible with the Riding For The Disabled for people with disabilities to access the benefits that can be accrued from contact with horses, participation in horse riding and involvement in physical activity, sport and therapeutic programs. Most groups are voluntary and non-profit.
Sailing can also be enjoyed with those that have disabilities. The local group sails out of Mooloolaba Marina each week since 1988 with up to 80 participants enjoying the experience.
So it is easy to see that whilst you may have a disability, there really is many options (and not limited to our select few) to encourage you to get out there and thoroughly enjoy an active life.