What adaptive sport can I do with my disability
Guide to adaptive sports based on disabilities
Following our article on sports and disabilities, let’s introduce what kind of adaptive sport can a person with a specific pathology or disability can do in order to be more independent and more active .
Upper limbs Amputation
To this category belong all those who, as a result of accidents, physical traumas, or diseases, have undergone the removal of tissue of one or more limbs of the upper body such as arms, fingers, metacarpus, forearm, and so on.
The adaptive sports that a person with amputation of the upper limbs can practice are multiple, and obviously vary depending on the type of amputation.
To this category belong all those who have borned with the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Person with albinism are healthy as the population but are classified as disabled because of the associated visual impairments. As a result most of them suffer and have problems with vision.
The adaptive sports that a person with albinism can practice are multiple.
Lower limbs Amputation
Amputation of one or both of the lower limbs is a type of disability that usually occurs in a trauma, accident or disease, and involves the removal of tissue from one or both limbs of the lower body, partially or total.
Thanks to new surgical techniques, amputations are carried out in a less cruel way and take into account the subsequent use of technologically advanced prostheses and rehabilitation processes.
Among the amputations that are most frequently performed are hip disarticulation, trans femoral amputation, knee disarticulation or trans tibial amputation. Depending on the type of amputation it is possible to practice many adaptive sports disciplines indicated below.
SPINAL MUSCULAR ATROPHY (SMA)
Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a serious neuromuscular genetic disorder, better known by the acronym SMA. It affects the central nervous system that presides, in the spinal cord, the transmission of muscle movement through the so-called motoneurons, those cells dedicated to the transfer of motor signals, preventing in the most serious cases to perform simple actions such as walking, swallowing and controlling the movements of neck and head. It is calculated that in Italy there are today over 10 thousand people affected by this invalidating disease in the three recognized modalities: SMA 1, SMA 2, and SMA 3 considered the mildest form. People affected by this pathology can still access the various sports disciplines listed below.
People with this type of pathology report localized damage to the central nervous system, which can have several causes: brain tumors, strokes, head traumas, various dementias or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, sclerosis amyotrophic lateral and other forms of paralysis. The number of people suffering from brain injuries is constantly increasing in our country and this type of disability is one of the main causes of physical and psychological cognitive disability, with severe limitations in the quality of life. Nevertheless, after specific rehabilitation protocols, people affected by brain injuries are able to practice a series of adaptive sports disciplines that are suggested below and that can represent an important psychophysical recovery action.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease This is a genetic disease that affects the nerves and can have serious consequences to the whole nervous system, causing a real form of disability. It is characterized by a muscular atrophy resulting in progressive physical weakness, a reduction in the sensitivity of the feet, legs and progressively upper limbs with some possible skeletal deformations. This pathology usually manifests itself before the age of 20 and is categorized into 3 main forms: the type 1 CMT, the most frequent, the type 2 CMT representing 20% of cases and the type 4 CMT, which is considered very rare. People who suffer from it may still have access to various adaptive sports that we list below.
Spastic diplegia is a form of infantile cerebral palsy characteristic of premature infants and caused by the immaturity of the vascular system, which results in a spasticity pattern prevalent in the lower limbs. Generally, with the development the person manages to take short steps walking on the tip of the feet. Despite this disability, people who suffer from it can access adaptive sports activities that we suggest below and which can improve the tone and the psychophysical quality of life.
Muscular dystrophy is an inherited degenerative neuromuscular pathology that leads to progressive muscular weakness with consequent disability. This pathology in Italy to 10% of neurological patients. There are various forms of dystrophy, among which the most common are Duchenne Dystrophy and Becker’s Dystrophy. Each of these forms has a more or less different symptomatology and can manifest itself in various age groups.
Below is a list of the adaptive sports that a person with muscular dystrophy can practice.
Dwarfism is an alteration of genetic origin, whose most common and widespread form is achondroplasia. This pathology, which generally affects one person every 20,000, is characterized by a lack of harmonious development of the cartilages of growth of the long bones of the limbs.
Those with dwarfism, in addition to having a lower stature than normal may have difficulty breathing, ear infections, back pain with possible forms of disc herniation, and lack of stability in the set. However, people are able to practice some sports that we suggest below.
This disease, more common in the pediatric age, is a neuromotor pathology caused by irreversible damage or non-progressive lesion of the central nervous system, whose repercussions on the muscular system progress with the evolution of life, with possible repercussions of an intellectual type. There are different types of cerebral palsy of children, among them:
spastic infant paralysis;
the dyskinetic infantile paralysis;
the ataxic infantile paralysis;
hypotonic infantile paralysis.
Its manifestations are varied and the symptoms change over time, but some therapeutic strategies can help improve the quality of life. Do not forget the usefulness and the benefit of some adaptive sport disciplines that are suggested and practiced by people with this pathology
It is a form of paralysis that compromises the use of both lower limbs. Most often the condition of paraplegia arises as a result of accidents of various kinds (road, sports, domestic) or pathological processes in the spinal cord (degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, sla or muscular dystrophy).
Despite the disability that this condition implies, a paraplegic person can still lead a life full of satisfactions. Below we indicate a series of adaptive sports disciplines compatible with this disability.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system caused by the degeneration of myelin, the sheath that protects and isolates neurons whose alteration compromises the ability of brain cells to transmit the impulses that come from the brain and vice versa.
Among the various symptoms of the disease there are visual disturbances, progressive loss of control of movements, changes in the sensitivity of the limbs, difficulty in speech, disorders of the bowel and bladder, abnormalities in the coordination of voluntary muscles and walking. This disease is also divided and categorized into 4 categories, depending on the type and severity.
However, all this does not prevent the people affected to benefit from the practice of various adaptive sports that we indicate below.
The cause of which can be detected in the ear lesions, in excessive and continuous exposure to loud noises and also to the consequence of the intake of particular drugs. Deafness can occur either from birth or during life due to trauma. Those born without hearing experience severe difficulties in learning in general, but the auditory trauma may have varying degrees of severity from mild to profound.
The type of hearing reduction is also classified by the damage that produced it as a transmission or neurosensory. People affected by deafness can access different disciplines of adaptive sport, some of which are dedicated to them and we indicate them below.
Spina bifida is a condition determined by a genetic defect of the vertebral column due to the non-welding of vertebral arcs. This is the most common malformation of the peripheral nervous system that affects 5 children every 10 thousand inhabitants.
The Spina Bifida, which obliges in most cases a life in a wheelchair, however, allows successful participation in many adaptive sports disciplines that we will suggest.
Tetraplegia consists of a severely disabling form of disability that is most often the direct consequence of a serious trauma that has affected the first part of the spine, involving, in particular, the first 7 cervical vertebrae (road accidents mainly).
Although tetraplegic people need a wheelchair for their entire lives, they can still improve their condition and therefore the quality of their lives by practicing some adaptive sports that we suggest below.
Visual disability is a more or less disabling type of disability depending on the type and the cause that led to the condition.
The causes of visual impairment (which is distinguished in complete blindness and hypovision, where there is a partial visual loss) are to be recognized mainly in pathological processes (maculopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, etc.) or conditions existing since birth.
In any case, even the visually impaired have available a series of adaptive sports disciplines dedicated to them which we indicate below.
Intellectual disability is an irreversible condition of mental health that sometimes follows psychic and neuromotor pathologies, some of which are of genetic origin. Down Syndrome is undoubtedly recognized among the best known.
The diseases that are part of this disability can be classified into 3 categories:
infantile encephalopathies (brain injuries);
the conditions of genetic origin (Down syndrome);
autism, a developmental disorder with unclear causes and characterized by important communication and behavioral deficits.
For athletes with intellectual disabilities the practice of different adaptive sports disciplines listed belowis advisable.
AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS (ALS)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known by the initials ALS, is a degenerative disease that affects the brain cells responsible for controlling the muscles, progressively compromising the movements of the voluntary musculature. It usually occurs in individuals over the age of 40, more often in males than in females. The numerous scientific researches that have been carried out have highlighted the role of some factors that would contribute to the development of the pathology, among which genetic predisposition, toxic-environmental factors, a very high glutamate rate, the formation of protein clusters in cells and nutrient deficiency for cells in the nervous system.
The main forms of ALS are two: typical or common ALS and ALS in bulbar form, which leads to degeneration of the muscles involved in chewing and swallowing.
Despite being a degenerative disease, people with ALS do not have to renounce sports altogether. Below are the dedicated adaptive sports disciplines listed.
Arthrogryposis, or arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, is a clinical condition characterized by congenital multiple joint contracture affecting two or more anatomical districts and which is found in several pathological conditions with different etiology. Although the condition usually occurs on a genetic basis, it can also have a sporadic origin. The causes are partly unknown but are believed to be multifactorial in nature.
Among the conditions that can lead to arthrogryposis we recognize:
alterations of intra-uterine and fetal circulation
anomalies of connective tissue (eg diastrophic dysplasia)
neuropathies (CNS changes, spinal cord, peripheral nerves)
myopathies and other degenerative diseases (muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, congenital peripheral neuropathies).