During the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, we're running 10 second ads on CBC urging people with disabilities to get off the sidelines and into the game. If pain and disability has kept you from playing the sport you love, we hope that you'll connect with our amazing program managers and program coordinators and get involved in wheelchair sports!
Here are some frequently asked questions:
What sports do you offer?
We offer wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair athletics, and wheelchair basketball (through BC Wheelchair Basketball Society). We can also refer you to sports like sledge hockey, power soccer, cerebral palsy soccer and boccia through our friends at Sportability and winter sports through BC Adaptive Snowsports. We offer programs for all ages and levels of development in nearly every major city in BC, including juniors.
Who can play wheelchair sports?
There is a place for nearly everyone in wheelchair sports. Our members range in age from 4 to 84. Common disabilities include spinal cord injury (both quadriplegic and paraplegic), cerebral palsy, amputation, arthritis and other orthopedic conditions, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and many more. Many wheelchair sports welcome able-bodied people. Some able-bodied people like to play with a family member or friend with a disability. Others cannot play able-bodied sports because of a lower-body injury and find that wheelchair sports allows them to play without pain. Most of our members can push a manual wheelchair, though people who use electric wheelchairs are welcome to play wheelchair tennis. Still not sure if you're eligible? Just contact us!
Do I need special equipment?
To play wheelchair sports, you'll need a sports wheelchair. Luckily, we have an extensive wheelchair and equipment loan program!
What cities are you active in?
We are active in nearly every major city, including: Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Kelowna, Kamloops, Fort St. John, Prince George, Nanaimo, Parksville-Qualicum, and Delta. Even if we don't have a program in your area, we can help you get involved in an individual sport like wheelchair racing or tennis, and introduce you to experts in your area.
Why should I play wheelchair sports?
Wheelchair sports are a fun way to stay fit, meet friends or even get the opportunity to travel to tournaments and represent your country. Whether you want to play recreationally or you have Paralympic dreams, there's a place for you!
Need some more reasons?
- Studies show that people with disabilities who play wheelchair sports have less stress, less depression, more friends, fewer hospital stays, fewer secondary health complications and a greater quality of life than those who don't.
- The strength gained through playing wheelchair sports may help you in your daily living (transferring in and out of your wheelchair, etc).
- People with disabilities who play wheelchair sports are more likely to have a job.
- Studies show that people with disabilities often learn the "tricks of the trade" from people with a similar level of disability, allowing them to lead more independent lives.
- People who play wheelchair sports have greater muscle mass and less body fat.
What are some common myths about wheelchair sports?
Wheelchair sports aren't competitive: If you've never seen wheelchair sports in person, you might think that they won't be athletic or competitive. Do a quick Youtube search for webcasts of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and check out the hard hits of wheelchair rugby, the clutch three-point shots in wheelchair basketball, the top speeds of wheelchair athletics and the amazing rallies of wheelchair tennis. You'll be hooked in no time!
I'm not fit enough for wheelchair sports: If you're worried about your fitness level, rest assured that beginner practices can be easily adapted to your level of comfort and fitness. Our experienced coaches ensure that everyone has a positive sport experience.
I can walk. I can't play wheelchair sports: Wrong! Many people who play wheelchair sports can walk. Some of these people have a disability like cerebral palsy or have an amputation. Others are able-bodied and simply enjoy wheelchair sports. You might be surprised to hear that 40% of wheelchair basketball players are able-bodied or have a minimal disability. To further bust this myth, check out our minimal disability recruitment video.
The town I live in is too small to ever have a wheelchair sports program: We are active in several small towns, such as Fort St. John, so make sure to check with us to see if we're in your area. If we're not, we'll help you get set up with a sports wheelchair for an individual sport such as wheelchair tennis or wheelchair athletics and work with experts in your community to get you the support you need to train and compete.
I'm ready to get involved, what do I do?
Yay! We can't wait to meet you!
To get involved, contact:
Lisa Myers, Program Coordinator (specializes in athletics)
604.333.3520 ext. 209 | [email protected]
Holly Tawse, Program Manager (specializes in tennis)
604.333.3520 ext. 204 | [email protected]
Kevin Bowie, Program Manager (specializes in wheelchair rugby)
604.333.3520 ext. 205 | [email protected]
For wheelchair basketball, contact
Nadine Barbisan - Program Coordinator - BC Wheelchair Basketball Society
Phone: (604) 333-3532
Email: programs (at) bcwbs.ca