Sunday, December 16, 2012
Wheelchair curling – a rehab technique for spinal injury
This weekend I read about a less well-known sport for disabled people, wheelchair curling.
Wheelchair curling was the basis a fundraising event run by a rehab clinic for spinal cord injured on Saturday. The occasion has helped raised awareness of the benefits of this rather niche sport. The organisers of the event say that curling is a fun way for people in wheelchairs to build their strength and independence. Its unique selling point according to organiser Owen Carlson is that “anybody can do it”. The event was also attended by professional curlers to help make sure everyone got the hang of curling.
One of the participants had suffered spinal cord injuries in a car accident. Since her accident, she has found disability sports activities a vital part of her rehabilitation. She points out that “if you just sit, you don't use the muscles that you used to use all the time, they'll just atrophy and waste away to nothing and that doesn't take a very long time.”
It is also great to see spinal rehabilitation centres are finding ways to make the long rehabilitation process after spinal cord injury fun and light hearted. The psychological benefits of this are also tangible. As another participant in the event commented “it feels really good to do something like [wheelchair curling] because they need to be encouraged to go out and sometimes they don't feel like they can do it with their injury. Anything is possible if you just give it a try.”