British Wheelchair Sports – Case Studies
The National Junior Games,which took place at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, featured on ITV news earlier this week. We wish to demonstrate how sports can aid disabled people in building confidence and aspirations, in addition to improving both mental and physical health.
Here’s one of a set of case studies from participants and their parents who give their own personal accounts of how the Games have benefited them both mentally and physically.
Sam Joyce, Age 15 years
What does coming along here mean to you?
“It means that I can come along and try out a variety of different sports that usually wouldn’t be accessible to me. It’s a lot of fun as well. You don’t really think about it, but then you have all these doors opening up to you. It’s incredible.”
Before you came here what sort of sports were you taking part in?
“Slightly modified PE lessons at school, archery at the local club, they’ve both been great in trying to help me do well, but it’s just that it’s mainly for the able bodied it’s just not as specialized in a way.”
What sports did you do first time that you never thought you would do?
“Basketball, shooting, tennis, pretty much everything here…. there’s a load. I’ve tried out the rugby this time and managed to have a go on the handcycling, that’s been fun. It’s trying all the sports again that I tried last time.”
What was it about wheelchair rugby that you liked?
“Being able to go out really fast, in case you have the occasional knock with someone. That is quite fun. The same with the basketball.”
And what about the handcycling?
“How quickly you can go on a straight line, but it does tire you out, going along constantly pushing, the upper body strength, it’s quite tough, but really fun.”
What about being here with other people, is that important to you?
“Back home you don’t see many people in a wheelchair, here there’s loads of people you can talk to and you can be open with them and they understand you, rather than an able-bodied person.”
What are you going to do over the next few days?
“A bit more shooting, a bit more of the hockey maybe, tennis, athletics, loads of things.”
What does playing sport mean to you?
“It’s just the time to relax, do some exercise, get out there and do things you normally don’t do.”
Sam’s Mum – Vicky:
What does it mean Sam coming here to you as a parent?
“I think it’s great, it’s a way of him being able to come to try out sports. It gives him the opportunity to do stuff he wouldn’t be able to do otherwise in school. It gets him involved in and participating and meeting other people as well and having a bit of connection between all of them as well. So, I think that’s important, because disability can be an isolating situation, so to be able to be with a lot of other people in a similar situation is really, really good.”
It’s his second time here, what did he learn from the first visit?
“So much, I think. He really enjoyed the participating, finding something he enjoyed like the shooting really gave him that enthusiasm and that strive to do more and get involved in more sports. It gave a positive spin on his work, educationally as well, it just gave him a little more oomph, a bit more to strive for.”
Has Sam always been interested in sport?
“Not really, he’s always enjoyed watching sports like the Olympics and other sports on TV, but because of his disability he’s not been able to participate. Here basically opened the door for him to do that.”