I volunteer with an organisation called AccesSports which takes activites that the most agile of athletes find challenging and brings these sports to children and adults with disabilities. The exhilaration inherent to each sport is just a part of the experience which fosters positive change in function and fitness as well as attitude and expectation for a life lived with a disability. Programs are designed to promote each person's highest physical and athletic potential while cultivating social and emotional well being. We seek to create a community where differences are diminished, blurred and often erased. Our programs are designed to build a community of relationships that last a lifetime.  This video gives an overview of the some of the activities athletes participate in.

However, before the exciting sports activities can start, a stretch and fitness work-out happens first. We use games to engage our athletes - for example, heading soccer balls, doing oblique crunches or finishing song phrases before coming up from a squat. Then we work on aerobic conditioning using options like obstacle courses or other movement drills, often with soccer balls. The point is to safely elevate the heart rate of our athletes for a few minutes. Even if the athlete is in a power chair we might emphasize something like raising their leg or arm or rocking while moving in the chair. Next we teach a soccer skill - for example, trapping the ball, learning to pass with the inside of the foot or a move. This is the last half hour of class; the focus eventually is to use the skill in a game in the last 10-15 minutes. Again, the drills are fun and driven by team competition. The drills can be relay races, juggling contests or even soccer bowling (kicking balls off cones). The final game is small sided so everyone gets a chance for many touches of the ball. Each session ends with a cheer.

Step 1: Exercises: Leg Presses & Abductors

With the athlete on his/her back and feet straight up in the air. We do leg presses with a trainer leaning on 1 or 2 of the athletes feet. We prefer close chain exercises (i.e. squats) but often get better form with trainer's body weight. After a set we go right to either 1 or 2 legged bridges. We generally avoid reps here and hold for 20 seconds instead.

With athletes with high tone and extremely tight hamstrings, we do either lying abductor splits or standing weight shifts.

Lying abductors is where with the athlete on his/her back the trainer sits by the athlete's feet and put their hands under the feet to provide resistance or to be a gliding aid as the athlete tries to work on abduction. We make sure the feet stay on our hands on the ground so hip flexors cannot be a part of the exercise. The legs have to stay straight through as well.

The weight shift exercise is demonstrated in the following two videos

3 sets of leg presses and 3 of bridges or abduction.

<p>While I applaud the ethos - there isn't a single one of these that I (disabled, powerchair user, chronic pain/fatigue, joint problems) could do safely. The vast majority I couldn't do at all. The concentration on football seems odd to me as it means anyone who cannot at least stand can't play - do you do anything for those of us who are more impaired but still interested? I ask because I've been to similar things here, hoping to find things I can make part of my own physio/fitness regime, and been basically told 'just try and keep up' 'do what you can' which isn't nearly as inclusive as the non-disabled folks running it think it is - I end up sitting out most of it and leaving early, crying all the way home because I can't exercise with the normals or with other disabled people.</p>
<p>Ahh, I see you're from the UK. I'm not aware of the programs available. If you can't find a suitable program then that's an opportunity. I'd encourage you to find some like minded people, figure out funding/support, and make a dent in the universe together.</p>
<p>Sorry for not getting back sooner. Yes, this is a challenge but not impossible. One of our athletes has ALS and with the support of someone behind him is able to at least balance on top of his legs and use is body to swing a leg out.</p><p>When he's too tired to do that a volunteer will push his chair and he uses his feet to manipulate the ball.</p><p>We do work hard to include everyone and without knowing the details I'd personally put you in goal/defense and have you use your upper body to pass the ball back out.</p><p>Now, if you have chronic pain then obviously football is not a suitable form of exercise. I would encourage you to design a program around your strengths. IF you scroll down through this photoset you will see skiing, sledding, basketball, tennis, etc</p><p><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/zenomountain/" rel="nofollow">https://www.flickr.com/photos/zenomountain/</a></p><p>Where are you based? I can put you in touch with some of the organisers</p><p><a href="http://www.accessportamerica.org/" rel="nofollow">http://www.accessportamerica.org/</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zenomountainfarm.com/" rel="nofollow">http://www.zenomountainfarm.com/</a></p><p>Kind regards pauric [at] pauric [dot] net</p>
Heck yeah! <br><br>A well-deserved win! Congrats!
Thank you, it's really the organisation AccesSportAmerica that makes all this happen (specifically it's founder Ross Liley)

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