WinSport launched a new program aimed at teaching Calgarians more about wheelchair sports on Saturday.
The adaptive sports program gives people with and without physical disabilities a chance to try out a wide range of activities.
Chad Jassman plays on Team Canada’s wheelchair basketball team and hopes the program can encourage everyone to be more active.
“It’s really cool to just open people’s eyes to the awareness issues,” Jassman said. “They realize that wheelchair sports can be super fun whether you have a disability or not.”
The free nine-week program is open to the public and will highlight a different sport every week.
One demographic that WinSport hopes to engage is family and friends of people in wheelchairs.
Dr. David Legg, who teaches adaptive physical activity at Mout Royal University, said getting out with the entire family has huge benefits.
“Children with disabilities don’t always have siblings that also have disabilities,” said Legg. “Often, their brothers and sisters are able-bodied so this gives them an opportunity to participate together and just enjoy all the benefits that sport can provide.”
While there may be a learning curve for some people trying out wheelchair sports for the first time, experts will be on hand to help teach the basics.
“The biggest learning curve is the chair,” said Jassman. “When they first come out, they’re going two miles an hour. One or two days, they’re crashing and banging the chairs and getting a little bit more confident with their chair skills.”
The program runs every Saturday until June 15. Participants can drop in between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Markin MacPhail Centre or register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.