When it comes to sports, it’s easy for those with disabilities to feel excluded and left out. Although there have been significant strides with the passing of Americans With Disabilities Act, can the same be said for the athletic world?
The good news is that there is a vast platform for those with disabilities to play sports. Events like the Paralympic Games acknowledge and celebrate the sporting abilities of those with disabilities, and encourage more people to join in. One of the most popular sports aimed at those with disabilities is powerchair football.
What is powerchair football?
Powerchair Football was invented in France in the late 1970s, before it eventually spread out throughout Europe, then to North American in the 80s. In 2005 the Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Association (FIFPA) was formed to officiate all international matches. The FIFPA then created the Powerchair Football World Cup in 2007.
In 2017, the third world cup was held in Florida, with France taking the winning title. It’s safe to say that the sport has become a worldwide phenomenon, and is now being played in 27 different countries.
How do I play the game?
The rules are similar to traditional soccer, except the courts are basketball-sized with four players on each team, and the match only goes on for 40 minutes (20 minutes each half). To move around, players use powerchairs – small, electric-powered cars with bumpers attached to the front to absorb the impact of collisions. With those key differences aside, it is very similar to soccer.
Who can perform the sport?
The best part about powerchair football is that anyone can play no matter their age, gender, height or weight. An article on ABC Australia notes that it’s one of the most inclusive sports out there, due to the fact anyone can play. One national championship team from the country was made up of women aged 10 – 56 “all with severe disabilities including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and various neurological conditions, as well as athletes with spinal injuries.”
Where can I play?
It can practically be played anywhere. Since powerchair football is an indoor sport, there’s no need to worry about bad weather. You just need to find an indoor sports center that has the right facilities to play.
Why should I play?
all sports, powerchair football has numerous health benefits. These include
improved cardiovascular levels and an improved immune system. This is important
as the CDC reports that those with disabilities are more
vulnerable to chronic illnesses. The site notes that this is often caused by a lack of
physical activity. With Maryville University reporting that chronic
illnesses are on the rise across
the country to due poor lifestyles, physical health becomes more important than
ever, especially to those with disabilities. This is why inclusive sports such
as powerchair football are so important. They provide a fun and accessible
outlet to get fit, which in turn will help protect players from contracting
Sport is an activity that benefits everyone and powerchair football has done a lot to open doors for those with severe disabilities to engage in physical activity. If you are disabled and looking for an outlet to play sport do check out powerchair football.