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World of Adaptive Sports – Overcoming Limitations

Learn more about the world of adaptive sports that are made possible by local adaptive sports groups across the country.

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Make A Hero’s goal is to grow awareness and educate the public about the freedom one can experience through adaptive sports, leading to a more active life for disabled and able-body individuals, alike. Learn more about Make A Hero here.

Below you will find a listing of many adaptive sports that individuals with disabilities engage in day-to-day to experience freedom, purpose, fitness, mobility, and to enjoy the social benefits of team oriented sports.  

Join the conversation on The HERO Blog to discuss, inspire, and learn more about the world of adaptive sports. With your help, and the help of the hundreds of adaptive groups across the nation, Make A Hero hopes that this website will serve as an “adaptive sports encyclopedia” which can act as a database for individuals looking to begin a more active chapter of life.

Insights, pictures, videos, tutorials, and organization information is paramount to our goal of creating this extensive adaptive sports database.  

To be featured by Make A Hero, to feature a friend as a hero, or to simply join the conversation about adaptive sports, please comment on The HERO blog or email Ricky [at] MakeAHero [dot] org with any information you have.


 Types of Adaptive Sports Include:

SnowsportsSkiing, Snowboarding, Sledding

WatersportsSCUBA diving, Free diving, Swimming

RacingRoad Hand-cycling, Mountain Biking, Running, Triathlon

On the Water SportsSurfing, Sailing, Kayaking, Rowing, Rafting

Outdoor SportsClimbing, Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Shooting, Archery

Recreational SportsGolf, Tennis, Equestrian, Curling

Competitive SportsSoccer, Rugby, wrestling, Basketball, Hockey, Football, Fencing


Snowsports-

Adaptive snowsports allow individuals with any ability level to explore and enjoy the freedom that can be experienced on the mountain. Via a wide range of adapted snow equipment that range from a simple sled that can be pushed or pulled by the athlete or a volunteer to high technology sit-skis that allow you to ski at, or above the level of an able-body skier. Depending on ability level, this equipment can allow you to access any part of the mountain and nearly any terrain. A great physical and emotional outlet during the winter, when it is tempting to stay indoors and be sedentary.

“There are times I forget that I’m sitting down … I’m lost in the turn.” Chris Waddell, 13-Time Paralympian Gold Medalist Mono-skier

Types of Snow Sports:

  • Skiing 
  • Snowboarding 
  • Sledding 

Equipment Accessories:

Sit-Ski, Mono-ski, Bi-Ski, 3-Track, 4-Track, Cross-Country Ski, Backcountry Ski, Alpine Ski, Ski-bikes, Pull Sled, Gear Sled.  Shorter poles for sleds, out riggers; all accessories that can help adapt the skiing experience. We encourage anyone that is trying adaptive snow sports for the first time to contact an adaptive sports group that can outfit you with equipment that matches your ability needs.

Ability Level:

All ages and ability levels.

How to Get Involved:

There are hundreds of adaptive snowsports groups across the nation that host daily, weekend, and week-long camps that instruct individuals to engage in these activities as well as supplying adaptive equipment that suits the ability and experience level of their participants. Adaptive sports groups provide professional assistance and an opportunity to experience the benefits of adaptive snowsports. From small bunny hills, to backcountry terrain, to the most advanced park terrain, there is an opportunity to experience the benefits of the mountain.

Video Representation:

Anthony Robles, NCAA wrestling champion and ESPY Award winner learns to ski for the first time ~ Make A Hero

Related Blog Posts:

Link to Find A Group:


Watersports- 

Adaptive underwater sports allow individuals with any ability to feel the freedom and healing power of the ocean (or any body of water, for that matter).  Some underwater sports require little to no gear, while others require certification, outfitting, and support of professionals.  Individual’s normally restricted to the confines of a wheelchair can drift, float, or swim in the water on a warm day, or zip up in a wetsuit if weather necessitates.  Explore wild life and learn about our underwater ecosystem by experiencing it first hand; no matter the conditions, the experience, underwater, can be liberating.

“I love Scuba diving because there is no rush, no competition, no limitations. On the surface I’m limited to my chair and every daily task takes awhile, but in the ocean I am free to move at my own pace, in any direction I want, without limitations.” – Dave Hosick, C7 quadriplegic Dive Master

Types of Underwater Sports:

  • Scuba Diving 
  • Free-diving 
  • Swimming

Equipment Accessories:

SCUBA Gear, dive gloves, special mask, specialized compressed tanks (varying gases).

Ability Level:

All ages and ability levels; Ages 12+ for SCUBA diving.

How to Get Involved:

There are several SCUBA diving organizations across the nation that are equipped to instruct individuals with physical disabilities to gain their PADI SCUBA certification. A1 SCUBA, in Denver is one of many organizations that specializes in adaptive diving all over the world. For more information about how to get involved in your local area, please email ricky [at] makeahero [dot] org.

There are hundreds of adaptive watersports groups across the nation that host daily, weekend, and week-long camps that instruct individuals to engage in these activities as well as supplying adaptive equipment that suits the ability and experience level of their participants. Adaptive sports groups provide professional assistance and an opportunity to experience the benefits of adaptive water sports.

Video Representation:

The Current Trailer – Characters from all walks of life discover the healing power of the ocean and the freedom experienced through participation in adaptive watersports.

Related Blog Posts:

Link to Find A Group:


Racing- 

Adaptive racing allows individuals with disabilities to experience sports and recreation on any open road, trail or track. Hand-cycling, mountain biking, and running, require equipment which can be described as an extension of the individual’s natural way of mobility, be it a wheelchair or prosthetic leg(s), therefore providing a smoother learning curve. Racing can be an individual event, though, often, groups are formed to train and participate together, which provides an added social element.  Accessible to all age-groups and abilities, anywhere along the “road of life”.

“With life-changing events such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, and amputation, come immense challenges. Especially with regard to transportation and socialization, adaptive sports programs provide one of the most compelling and effective solutions.”University of Utah Health Sciences Center 

Types of Racing Sports

  • Road hand-cycling 
  • Mountain biking
  • Running

Equipment Accessories:

Upright hand-cycle, Recumbrant hand-cycle: lean-to-steer or fork-steer, Downhill mountain bike – fourcross, Offroad hand-cycle, 2-4 wheel stability bikes, prosthetics, blade-runner, ankle joints.  We encourage anyone that is trying adaptive racing for the first time to contact an adaptive group that can outfit you with equipment that matches your ability needs.

Ability Level:

All ages and abilities.

How to Get Involved:

There are hundreds of adaptive racing sports programs across the nation and world that host day, weekend, and week-long camps that instruct you how to participate in these activities and match you with adaptive equipment that suits your ability and experience level. These adaptive sports groups provide professional assistance and an opportunity to experience the benefits of adaptive racing.

Video Representation:

Related Blog Posts:

Link to Find A Group:


On the Water Sports- 

Adaptive on-the-water sports provide individuals with disabilities an experience to feel the freedom and healing power of the water, without submerging in it.  Sailing, kayaking, rowing, paddle boarding, rafting  are all popular options for athletes and individuals looking for fun recreational activity.  Often these are group activities, which provide an additional level of social interaction.   Adaptive on-the-water sports are accessible to all age-groups and abilities.

“I’ve always thought of the body as a circle. If you take a piece away, then you develop other capabilities. Eventually the circle becomes whole again. And that’s when you’ve joined the movement.” – Warren Miller 

Types of Sports on the Water:

  • Surfing 
  • Sailing
  • Kayaking
  • Rowing 
  • Paddle Board 
  • Rafting

Equipment Accessories:

Wake board, stand up paddle board, outrigger canoe kayak, sail, life vest.  Make A Hero encourages anyone that is trying adaptive on the water sports for the first time to contact an adaptive sports group that can outfit you with equipment that matches your ability needs.

Ability Level:

All ages and abilities.

How to Get Involved:

There are hundreds of adaptive on the water sports programs across the nation and world that host day, weekend, and week-long camps that instruct you how to participate in these activities and match you with adaptive equipment that suits your ability and experience level. These adaptive sports groups provide professional assistance and an opportunity to experience the benefits of adaptive on the water sports.

Video Representation:

Josh Sorvik describes his feelings in experiencing adaptive kayaking for the first time …

Related Blog Posts:

Link to Find A Group:


Outdoor Sports-

Adaptive outdoor sports offer individuals with disabilities an opportunity to feel freedom of movement in a natural setting.  Climbing, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting / archery are all popular options for athletes and individuals looking for fun recreational outdoor activity.  Most outdoor sports require a spotter or a fellow athlete for assistance.  In regards to climbing, amputees can learn to use their prosthetics to help them propel up the rock face.  Handlebar-style “ascenders”,  in the case of paras and quads, can grip a rope and ratchet themselves up.  For those of us that don’t have feeling, there are different climbing harnesses with extra wide strapping and padding to help with pressure issues.  No matter the recreational outlet, adaptive outdoor sports are accessible to all age-groups and abilities.

“We were watching human beings overcome what we had always assumed was a basic limitation of our species to break a barrier that was physically or psychologically insurmountable. We were watching a triumph of the human spirit…” – Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

Types of Outdoor Sports:

  • Climbing
  • Camping 
  • Fishing 
  • Hunting 
  • Shooting 
  • Archery

Equipment Accessories:

Dynamic ropes, rock shoes, camping gear, fishing pole clamps, 40-50 lb bow.  We encourage anyone that is trying adaptive outdoor for the first time to contact an adaptive group that can outfit you with equipment that matches your ability needs.

Ability Level:

All ages and abilities; professionally trained guide for rock climbing.

How to Get Involved:

There are hundreds of adaptive outdoor sports programs across the nation and world that host day, weekend, and week-long camps that instruct you how to participate in these activities and match you with adaptive equipment that suits your ability and experience level. These adaptive sports groups provide professional assistance and an opportunity to experience the benefits of adaptive outdoor sports.

Video Representation:

Scott Anderson accomplished sailor who lives near the shores of Lake Superior and describes his journey in this video …

Related Blog Posts:

Link to Find A Group:


Recreational Sports- 

Adaptive recreational sports offer individuals with disabilities an opportunity to enjoy friendly competition while participating in activities such as golf, tennis, equestrian, or curling.  Athletes and individuals looking to participate in recreational activity can move beyond physical limitation, utilizing adaptive sports equipment.  Participation in these sports can be therapeutic and fun.  Why not challenge yourself, or your friend, to join in a recreational game, today?

“It has made people realize that athletes are athletes and people are people. It doesn’t matter if you’re Usain Bolt, or in a wheelchair, we’re all people. And everyone just wants to talk about the sport, now, so that’s good.” – Charles Walker, Paralympic Volleyball player 

 

 Types of Recreational Sports:

  • Golf 
  • Tennis
  • Equestrian 
  • Curling

Equipment Accessories:

Adaptive golf cart, sports chair, saddle with mounting block, curling equipment.  Make A Hero encourages anyone looking to participate in adaptive recreational sports for the first time to contact an adaptive sports group that can outfit you with equipment that matches your ability needs.

Ability Level:

All ages and abilities-

How to Get Involved:

There are hundreds of adaptive recreational sports programs across the nation and world that host day, weekend, and week-long camps that instruct you how to participate in these activities and match you with adaptive equipment that suits your ability and experience level. Adaptive sports groups provide professional assistance and an opportunity to experience the benefits of adaptive recreational sports.

Video Representation:

Nick Deyo & Allyson Taylor who both were born without the ability to walk, describe their equestrian experience …

Related Blog Posts:

Link to Find A Group:


Competitive Sports- 

Adaptive competitive sports provide individuals with disabilities an opportunity to compete against one another in team sports.  Soccer, rugby, wrestling, basketball, hockey, fencing, and football (to name a few) each serve as an outlet for individuals looking to feel freedom beyond physical limitation.  Participation in these sports can be therapeutic and fun.  Why not challenge yourself, or your friend, to join in a recreational game, today?

“If the Paralympics have accomplished anything it is confronting people with the abilities that disabled people have. It’s also an indicator of progress. So many people have come here; they don’t have to pay money to come and watch disabled people play sport. They are here because they want to be here, because they see it as a worthwhile event. I think that people were ready for the Paralympics,” – Luke White, Paralympics wheelchair rugby star

“Remember, laziness is not a disability!”Joshua Myers, 2016 Paralympic Hopeful Track & Field

 

Types of Competitive Sports:

  • Soccer 
  • Rugby 
  • Wrestling
  • Basketball
  • Hockey (sled)
  • Football
  • Fencing 

Equipment Accessories:

Sports specific adaptive equipment.  Make A Hero encourages anyone that is trying adaptive competitive sports for the first time to contact an adaptive sports group that can outfit you with equipment that matches your ability needs.

Ability Level:

All ages and abilities.

How to Get Involved:

There are hundreds of adaptive competitive sports programs across the nation and world that host day, weekend, and week-long camps that instruct you how to participate in these activities and match you with adaptive equipment that suits your ability and experience level.  Adaptive sports groups provide professional assistance and an opportunity to experience the benefits of adaptive competitive sports.

Video Representation:

Related Blog Posts:

Link to Find A Group: