Sport is able to provide immediate and long-term relief to people with disabilities who are often plagued with health issues, poor social skills and lack of self-esteem. However, there are numerous challenges that prevent the disabled from participating in sporting activities. While the UK government, private sector and non-profit organisations are continually trying to remove barriers of participation for them, the enormous benefits that sport provides to the disabled are not publicised often enough.
Sport provides the opportunity for physical improvements such as stronger muscles, enhanced cardiovascular aerobic levels and improved motor skills.
Sport also creates an environment that allows the disabled to develop crucial life skills. Participation in sport teaches about teamwork, cooperation, working towards objectives and handling defeats and disappointments. Team sports also enable the disabled to acquire and develop leadership and organisational skills.
On the emotional and psychological levels, sport helps in developing stronger self-esteem and personal sense of worth, and alleviates depression and anxiety.
Essentially, sport can enhance the lives of the disable and help them lead a more fulfilling and productive life.
Numerous modifications are available to allow the disabled to play a wide range of individual and team sports. However, entry cost and availability of equipment have realistically narrowed down the choices to the following seven types of sports:
Depending on the physical limitations of the participants, the choice of sport may increase or decrease accordingly.
Communities can also play a role in increasing the rate of participation of the disabled in sports by making wheelchair-friendly modifications at local sporting venues and seeking sponsorships of sporting equipment. The greatest and most lucrative investment a nation can make is on its own people.
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