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Changing the Game: Adaptive Sports

Stay safe when participating in adaptive sports.

Adaptive sports, modified to fit the needs of the athlete, allow individuals to continue to do what they love.

Like many of our patients, Steven has grown up coming to Shriners Children’s Philadelphia since the age of 5. He was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder caused by inflammation to both sides of a section of the spinal cord. In Steven’s situation, the inflammation occurred in his cervical spine.

Due to his condition, Steven has impaired strength and sensation throughout his arms and legs. This is defined as incomplete quadriplegia (tetraplegia).

After making the switch from playing wheelchair basketball three years ago, Steven began playing wheelchair rugby through the Magee Rehabilitation Program, and he has loved it ever since.

While he was a patient, Steven worked with our team of physical therapists, where sports-specific training was a part of his care plan.

His goals were to get stronger for his sport, and with his upper extremity strength and range of motion limitations, he needed the specialization/skill set of a physical therapist to adapt his strength training movements.
Christin Krey, PT, MPT, PCS, Shriners Children's Philadelphia

“Ms. Christin was my therapist in my later years there, and she really set the tone and helped develop a workout schedule for back at home, which has paid off tons! Everyone I’ve worked with was amazing. All of the therapists always found a way to mix in some fun with the work, which always made the session much more enjoyable and made me eager to work!” said Steven.

What is wheelchair rugby?

Wheelchair rugby is a contact sport played on a basketball court. Four players per team will be on the court at one time, and the goal is to take the volleyball from one end of the court to the other end within 40 seconds.*

Wheelchair Rugby Safety Tips:

  • Take care of your hands and tape them up with protective tape, hand blisters are common.
  • Rugby is an aerobic sport, practice endurance and work on cardio.
  • Always make sure your sports chair is fitted correctly and secured safely. Most sports chairs will have straps and belts, some chairs may even include lap, foot and chest belts to keep players safe.

It is important to take safety precautions during the summer and all year round while participating in adaptive sports programs, and always consult your doctor before starting any new adaptive exercise program.

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