Are you interested in becoming an athlete? Do you face a unique disability that makes the going tough sometimes? For some reason, these hardships fail to discourage you. Instead, you want to rise up and overcome every obstacle placed in your way.
Fortunately, just as service dogs and ramps and grab bars are used to provide support in everyday living, there are useful pieces of technology that can help you meet and accomplish your athletic goals. These gadgets are called assistive devices. Each of these devices helps disabled athletes compete in the same activities and sports as non-disabled athletes. In some cases, the devices make the seemingly impossible possible.
Some of these devices are low-tech, meaning you can create them and use them at home. Others are medium-tech, implying they can be purchased in stores for a reasonable price. Still, others are high-tech, requiring a significant amount of money and funding to utilize.
To help introduce you to assistive devices, here is a list of five pieces of technology that have helped change the way disabled athletes compete.
1. Beeping Sport Balls
These balls can be used in a variety of sports, including basketball, tennis, soccer, and more. The ball is properly sized and features a built-in beeper. This beeper allows players who are blind to follow the ball by following the sound. Using a beeping ball, rather than a regular ball, allows disabled athletes to play alongside non-disabled athletes with little or no frustration.
2. Various Swimming Devices
In order to swim with a disability, a variety of swimming devices are required. These devices include “floaties” - or inflatable rings that keep your head above water. Ramps are also useful, allowing those who use a wheelchair to enjoy swimming. Mobile lifts are also available at some pools. Other accessories could include rubber prosthetics, belts, buckles, and special undergarments. Between all of these devices, there is little doubt that most disabled athletes can swim. LiveStrong recently published an article with more information about these devices.
3. Multi-Terrain Wheelchairs
Wheelchairs are, perhaps, one of the most important pieces of equipment in the world of disabled athletes. They are used in a multitude of extreme sports, including wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. In the case of multi-terrain wheelchairs, they are used for travel on sand, grass, dirt, and more. If you’ve ever wanted to compete in volleyball, this wheelchair is a great choice for you. You can find more information about these wheelchairs through Mobility USA.
4. Athletic Wheelchairs
While multi-terrain wheelchairs are fantastic, athletic wheelchairs are far more common when it comes to must-have equipment for disabled athletes. These wheelchairs often have special components that make movement easier and more agile. You can choose a wheelchair that tailors to your specific needs. It’s all about finding the right store and the right price.
5. Personalized Assistive Technology
Perhaps you have a disability that isn’t altogether common. If you’ve had trouble finding assistive devices in the past, you might want to consider personalized assistive technology. This technology offers custom modifications including changes in height, design, handles, hinges, and fabrication of devices. You’ll have the right equipment in no time.
It can be difficult to find the right assistive device for your extreme sport, your location, and your team. However, once you find a piece of equipment that works for you, you’ll find it starts to feel like an extension of your body - much like a prosthetic arm or leg.
Take great care in choosing the right equipment. For now, assistive technology is anything but affordable. Hopefully, in the future, this problem will be remedied - making competitive sports a possibility for individuals with disabilities everywhere. For now, do your best and choose wisely.