The best sports for children with Cerebral Palsy
People with Cerebral Palsy are affected in different ways depending on the type of Cerebral Palsy that they have. Although their condition may present a number of challenges and limitations, children and adults with the condition can still participate in everyday activities like sport.
Adapted sports for children living with Cerebral Palsy can help them to stay physically active, socialise with friends and find a fun enjoyable and healthy hobby.
There are lots of sporting opportunities out there for children with Cerebral Palsy. Athletes with Cerebral Palsy are a reminder of this. Take for example Justin Gallegos, a professional runner with the condition or mountain climber Bonner Paddock.
Speak to your child’s school to find out if there are any sporting clubs locally or contact local organisations that specialist in inclusive sport.
So, what are the best sports for children who have Cerebral Palsy? The answer is limitless. Any sport can be adapted and thankfully in 2021 inclusive sport is promoted more and more with clubs and organisations around the country.
Examples of sports adapted for children with Cerebral Palsy:
- Running – running is a great a way to stay fit and has numerous health benefits. If your child is unable to run without support then consider frame running, which is an adapted sport for those who cannot functionally run and need a mobility aid to help with moving and balance.
- Swimming – children with Cerebral Palsy can benefit greatly from swimming and it is a great life skill to have too! The water can help children who have high or low muscle tone move around and strengthen muscles that they might not be able to out of the water.
- Frame Football – if your child requires the use of a walking frame or mobility aids to support them moving around then Frame Football might be the sport for them. It’s not only fun but focuses on exercise and participating in a team sport.
- Para-cycling – cycling is a sport that is easily adapted thanks to specialist equipment such as therapy trikes, handbikes and tandem bikes.
- Ice Skating - there are lots of different aids that can help children with Cerebral Palsy ice skate. For example, adapted orthotic skates and balance aids.
- Wheelchair basketball – there are wheelchair basketball clubs all around the UK due to its popularity. Another fantastic adapted sport that encourages teamwork, coordination, fitness and fun.
- Wheelchair rugby – yes you heard us right! If your child wants to participate in wheelchair rugby then they will need a custom-made sports wheelchair with ‘bumpers’ and ‘wings’. More information can be found at GWBR.
- Wheelchair hockey – this can be played either in a manual or electric wheelchair and uses two types of hockey sticks. The first is a conventional hand stick. The second is called a T-stick, which has plastic blades situated at the front of the chair.
- Wheelchair tennis – another fantastic adapted sport.
- Adapted dance - need we say more? Anyone can dance with the right support. It’s great for the mind, body and soul.
- Boccia – boccia is a target sport played indoors where players roll, throw or kick a ball towards a target ball.
- Horse Riding – Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is a good place to start if your child is interested in horse riding. They have centres all over the UK.
We hope that you have found these suggestions useful.