While sports have value in everyone’s life, it is even more important in the life of a person with a disability. This is because of the rehabilitative influence sports can have on the physical body and mind of people with a disabilities in society. Furthermore, sports teaches independence. Nowadays, people with a disability participate in high performance as well as in competitive and recreational sports.
The number of people with disabilities involved in sports and physical recreation is steadily increasing around the world. Organized sports for athletes with disabilities are divided into three main disability groups; Sports for the Deaf, Sports for Persons with Physical Disabilities, and Sports for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.
Since the late 1980s, organizations began to include sporting events for athletes with disabilities; such as the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. However, many sports are practiced by people with a disability outside the formal sports movements. For example: Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Dancing, Weightlifting, Swimming, and many other sporting activities you can join if you are mentally or physical disabled.
Major disability sporting events include:
The Paralympic Games – A multi-sporting event for athletes with physical, mental and sensory disabilities. This includes mobility disabilities, amputees, visual disabilities and those with cerebral palsy. The Paralympic Games are held every four years, following the Olympic Games, and are governed by the International Paralympic Committee.
- Deaflympics – The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are among the world’s fastest growing sports events.The Deaflympics are an equivalent to the Olympic Games for deaf athletes. The games are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and competed by deaf athletes. Since the very first Deaflympics in the 1920s, the games are organised by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf
- Special Olympics – The global Special Olympics movement got its start on July 20th, 1968-when the First International Special Olympics Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. But the concept of the Special Olympics was born much earlier, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities at her home in 1962.
- Commonwealth Paraplegic Games – For the first time in the Games history a number of Para-Sports were included in a fully inclusive Sports Program in Manchester. In 2002 when 20 countries sent both male and female elite athletes with disabilities to compete in 10 events across 5 different Para-Sports; Athletics, Lawn Bowls, Swimming, Table Tennis and Weightlifting. Organized by the International Paralympic Committee.