Sports for persons with disabilities are described using the disability element and not using the sporting/athlete element as is usually common in traditional sports. For example, in a sporting activity like volleyball there may be more than one team for the same gender and age category due to the different divisions created to cater for the varied degrees of disabilities. Even so, this does not mean that sports for persons with disabilities are inferior to those practiced by their counterparts without disabilities.
In fact, the core tasks of organization, management, officiating, competing, and development of the sports for persons with disability are more or less similar to those carried out in their colleagues without disabilities. They are all run by international bodies that do similar tasks of identifying, nurturing, funding, and developing talent just as in the case with traditional sports. For example, the management of the game of Tennis for persons with disabilities sport is carried out by the International Tennis Federation.
Persons with disabilities are accorded equal opportunities to compete at the international level during major global sporting meetings. For instance, the “Paralympics Game, Special Olympics World Games, and the Deaflympics Games” (p. 136) are the three major global sporting events that brings together competitors from all parts of the world. Again, sports for persons with disabilities are organized into summer and winter to allow for proper preparation as well as not to coincide with other global events.
Basically, the underlying idea on sports for persons with disabilities, particularly the global tournaments is to explore the various abilities and reward them. The Paralympics Games are generally meant for professional athletes with one or multiple disabilities to compete. Disabilities here can be taken to include cerebral palsy, amputation, visual impairment, and dwarfs among other types of disabilities. On the other hand, Special Olympics form a relatively smaller outing for persons with disabilities.
This event covers a wide range of disabilities that touches on cognitive and developmental with the main aim being not to compete for winning wards but to just to take part in the event. Generally, the rules applied here are more or less similar to those applied in traditional sports with minor modifications made to cater for specific disabilities. Deaflympics Games are more or less similar to the Paralympics only that they specifically deal with Deaf athletes.
Perhaps another very important aspect of disability sports is the coaching part of it. Given their physically challenged nature, persons with disability may find it very hard committing themselves to sports. In this regard coaches working with persons with disabilities should be highly qualified and most importantly motivated individuals capable of providing both sport-specific training as well as psychological mindset to the athletes.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case with many athletes – some do not have access to coaching facilities while others access ill-prepared coaches who end up not helping them. Essentially, coaches should be professionally trained people, probably retired disability sports athletes who can understand and diagnose varied remedies for disability sports athletes. Ideally, they should be very listening so as to notice any change in attitudes among their trainees and make the necessary adjustments in training.
They should also liaise with the necessary medical practitioners to have the disabilities checked to avoid cases of strain or even under training. Most importantly, they should complement disability sports-specific training styles with other traditional coaching methods such as use of video tapes for comparative purposes. Due to the bulging number of athletes with disabilities venturing into sports, there has been notable increase in demand for disability sports medicine and treatment.
Essentially, the overall fitness of athletes with disabilities is greatly determined by the nature of training they undertake as well as the medicine or treatment they undergo. Moreover, some of the disabilities demands require careful medical checkups to diagnose any potential health lapses, to prevent future infection and injury, as well as to give overall body care. Such medication should be closely linked to normal training particularly to the affected body parts.
Athletes with disabilities require a great deal of equipments to perform to their optimum. Apart from the normal sports equipments utilized in traditional sports, disability sports require complex and expensive activity-specific equipments without which the activity cannot take place. Amputees taking part in wheelchair basketball may be hindered greatly due to the poor nature of their wheelchairs. Perhaps, this is one of the few areas that bring out the huge difference between traditional and disability sports.
With the proliferation of technological innovations, disability sports has been greatly enhanced as new, reliable, and efficient activity-specific equipments are now available. Organizing disability sports involves more or less the usual procedures involved in traditional sport. Basically, the tenets of event management are employed in making disability sports events a success. The whole process is done under the stewardship of the democratically elected management boards, depending on the type of sport being held as well as whether the event is being held at a national or even international level.
It involves the forming of planning and organizing committees that are charged with the responsibilities of focusing on critical issues such as booking and preparation of fields to suit the various disability sports activities. Again, the committees’ makes accommodation and transport arrangements, preparation of sport facilities such as fields, courts etc, and coordinates security teams particularly in this era of global terrorism, and works closely with the media people.