Sports for people with disabilities are gaining in popularity, and now, the United Kingdom-based charity Motivation has unveiled a new “multisport” wheelchair in the hope that it will encourage more people with disabilities to participate, not just in sports and sports clubs, but in a much wider variety of wheelchair activities.
There have been many custom wheelchairs dedicated towards specific sports, with people using special wheelchairs to play basketball, tennis, rappel, and even bungee jump—but still, many find that active participation in sports is out of reach due to cost and availability of the proper equipment and facilities. This becomes an issue particularly in the case of those athletes with disabilities who enjoy more than one sport but, up until now, have had to utilize different equipment for each sport, a prospect which can be truly daunting in the cost alone. While charities do a great job of providing equipment to those who need it, there’s only so much that can be done.
Motivation hopes to change this with their new multisport chair. The wheelchair is unique in that it’s specially designed for use in playing a large range of sports, instead of focusing on a specific one. The all-in-one solution can be used to enjoy everything from tennis to rugby and even dancing.
The initiative hopes to engage more wheelchair users in daily activity. In the UK, it’s believed that less than 20% of people with disabilities partake in physical activity weekly, and most wheelchair users cite money and lack of wheelchair-accessible facilities as the primary reasons for this lack of engagement.
Motivation product manager Clare Childs says, “Parents, clubs and schools want to offer as many opportunities for sport as possible, but sports kit can be pricey. By creating an affordable sports wheelchair, which can easily switch between different sports, we hope that a wider variety of sports will be accessed by more people.” While Motivation is one of the leading producers of wheelchairs and resources for people with disabilities, this is the first time they have released a wheelchair that is widely applicable to a variety of sports activities, and it’s available for purchase on their web site.
The charity’s equipment has been given to typhoon victims in the Philippines, and in 2012, they designed a special low-cost racing chair for the Paralympics. It is thought that these new multisport wheelchair chairs will enable hundreds of athletes from poorer nations to compete where, due to cost restrictions, the games were out of reach before. Watch the wheelchair in action, and let us know which sports you’d like to try!