Disability inclusion in sports: Way to a more inclusive world

Disability inclusion in sports: Way to a more inclusive world

Disability in sports have found an inclusive tone in the last few decades, but there is still a long way to go. Inclusion can only become inclusion in a true sense when persons with disabilities are not just present but engaged in meaningful ways. Sport has the potential to be a catalyst for inclusion and people who work in sport have a responsibility to make this happen.

Dr Guttmann organised the inaugural tournament for wheelchair athletes, which he dubbed the Stoke Mandeville Games, on July 29, 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, marking a watershed moment in Paralympic history. They included 16 wounded soldiers and women who participated in archery competitions. Ex-servicemen from the Netherlands joined the Movement in 1952, and the International Stoke Mandeville Games were born.

The Stoke Mandeville Games evolved into the Paralympic Games, which were held for the first time in 1960 in Rome, Italy, and featured 400 competitors from 23 countries. They’ve happened every four years since then. In 1961, Dr Guttmann created the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (the International Spinal Cord Society) and the British Sports Association for the Disabled (Activity Alliance), demonstrating his commitment to patient care. For his achievements, he received several honours, the highest of which was being knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1966.

Paralympic athletes are now well-known for their abilities and accomplishments. The Paralympic Games continue to be a driving force for promoting persons with disabilities’ rights and independence, with a long-term influence on fair treatment and opportunity.

There are many people who have a disability or a condition that prevents them from participating in traditional sports. As a result, experts had to modify existing sports and even invent new ones to remove obstacles and make these types of activities accessible to everyone, regardless of their disability.

According to Reina (2010), an adapted sport is “a sport modality that adapts to a collective of people with disabilities or special health conditions, either because they have made a series of adaptations and/or modifications to facilitate their practice, or because the very structure of the sport allows their practice”.

In light of the foregoing, we can say that various sports have modified their structure and rules to the group that will be participating. In other cases, a new modality has been developed based on the peculiarities of the disabled players. Basketball, for example, has been entirely modified for persons with physical disabilities and can now be played in a wheelchair.

Several adaptations or adjustments must be done in sports that are classified as adapted sports: The laws or regulations must be changed from the start since persons with disabilities are unable to follow them correctly due to their circumstances. On occasion, we are unable to utilise the same materials as in traditional sports. When we want persons with sensory and visual disabilities to participate in a sport, for example.

The substance to be utilised in these situations will be sonorous so that they can locate it. You’ll also need to make technical-tactics adjustments, not to mention the needs of the sport to which you’re adapting. Another significant component is the sports facility, which will need to adapt to the sport that will be performed inside it, in addition to the typical access adjustments. As a result, the game track will require some low-cost changes, such as emphasising the field lines. 

Here are a few types of sports that are adapted to each type of disability:

Disability

Athletics:

Athletics is one of the fastest-evolving Paralympic sports, featuring blind, paraplegic, and quadriplegic competitors, as well as persons with cerebral palsy and people who have had limbs amputated. Some athletes participate in wheelchairs, with prosthetics, or with the assistance of a rope-tied guide. Jumps contests, pitches, pentathlons, marathons, and races are all examples of athletics events.

As far as we can tell, it contains all Olympic events except hurdles, obstacles, pole vault, and hammer throw. If a disabled person uses a wheelchair, it will be built with appropriate and light materials so that they may compete without the issues that come with them.

Basketball Wheelchair:

This sport has been modified for persons who have physical disabilities, such as amputation of a limb, paraplegia, and so on. They are typically governed by the same rules as basketball, with some modifications, such as the need that players pass or toss the ball after moving the chair twice.

Boccia:

The origins of this sport, which is related to bocce, may be traced back to Classic Greece. Even though it is an ancient sport, it is highly popular in Nordic nations and is generally practised during the summer season, with adaptations for persons with cerebral palsy.

If there’s one thing to remember about this sport, it’s that the tests are mixed. You may also play both alone and with others. It is a stress and precision game played on a rectangular court in which players strive to toss their balls as near to a white one as possible while trying to push their opponents away.

Cycling:

It includes both track and road tests and, despite its youth, is one of the most popular Paralympic events. Their many sorts of tests are conducted in groups based on the type of disability of those taking part. Blind individuals, people with cerebral palsy, people with vision problems, people with motor difficulties, and those who have had an amputation are among the groups.

Disability

Fencing:

Fencing as we know it now dates from the nineteenth century. This sport is played by persons with physical disabilities, who will be seated in a wheelchair with gears that will allow them to move forward and backwards. It is a mix of many abilities such as tactics, strength, technique, and speed. Sword, foil, and Sabre are examples of various modalities.

The participation of this form of wheelchair sport in the Paralympic Games goes back to the 1960 games in Rome.

Football:

There are very few distinctions between it and traditional soccer. People with various degrees of cerebral palsy participate in this sort of adapted sport regularly. Because they follow the regulations of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), the rules are frequently quite similar to those of the original game. In this scenario, the teams are made up of seven persons rather than the usual eleven (including the goalie).

The band serves may be done with one hand. Out-of-play games, unlike traditional sports, do not exist. The matches are generally a little shorter, with each session lasting 30 minutes. Another difference is that participants who form teams must have varying degrees of disabilities.

Goalball:

It originates in nations such as Germany and Austria. It is considered a three-player team sport that is played on a rectangular track with a goal at each end, similar to football. Unlike other games, this one will be played using the hand rather than the feet. It is performed by persons who have a vision disability and involves a sonorous ball.

By allowing persons with various degrees of vision disability to participate in Goalball and ensuring circumstances between blind and visually impaired people, all players will wear a mask to shield their eyes. Finally, it should be remembered that for the game to go properly, you must remain silent and are only permitted to cheer when one of the teams scores a goal.

Sport is one of the things that we like doing daily, regardless of whether or not we have a disability. In fact, schools and parents with disabled children should make arrangements for them to be able to participate in sports activities in schools and other institutes in order to encourage them and increase their confidence and self-esteem. Sport assists us in evading and clearing ourselves, as well as relating to others.

Sport makes more sense for persons with disabilities since it allows them to overcome obstacles and set new goals. You may enhance not only your body but also your intellect by participating in adaptive sports. As a result, it is our responsibility to promote this sort of sport not just at school but also in other aspects of life.

Also Read: Accessibility, inclusion and entrepreneurship

(Sumit Agarwal is a public relations specialist, storyteller, media relations specialist, disability and inclusion SDG ambassador.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Autofintechs.com. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)

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