“I can’t run” said my husband Tom.
“Of course you can’t” I said… “But listen to this list –
Archery, bowling, golf, cycling, track and field, ping pong, rowing, weight lifting, sailing, swimming, scuba, shooting, fishing, kayaking, billiards, basketball, softball, sled hockey, tennis, horsemanship, skiing, waterskiing, and kite boarding!”
That’s all the sporting events available on the Tampa Veterans Hospital Adaptive Sports website! And this is the FIRST website I’ve been to!”
I watched Toms eyes… Yes, they welled with tears, as just 3 days earlier, Tom had just discovered that his “legs” were now his brand new wheelchair. But something else happened! Something exciting!
Not just Tom, but I also discovered that he’s not alone, and there are activities for him to get involved in, to have friends, to have challenges, and most importantly – TO HAVE FUN!
And that was just the beginning…
While I supported and watched Tom begin his rehabilitation, I couldn’t absorb enough INFORMATION about groups and activities for people with disabilities. I had no idea how many groups and how many locations and activities were out there! Hundreds!!
The day Tom told me that ‘he couldn’t run’ is etched into my memory forever. Because that day was the beginning of our new discovery and our new life, and frankly, while at the time, I was overwhelmed with sadness and despair, it was actually one of the best days of our lives!
It was a day of DISCOVERY! And it was a day that changed our lives for the better! And the results have been astounding and remarkable!
That was 3 years ago, and in that 3 years, Tom has participated in many different Adaptive Sports events and competitions, and in many different cities and states. And so have I – as Tommy and I have both continued to develop tremendous lifelong friendships and relationships! And perhaps even more important – RESOURCES!
What we’ve both discovered is how so many Adaptive Sports athletes and families love to share their resources, how to find them, and who to talk to!
So it’s our turn to share some of the best resources with you, as in the end of this, I’m going to tell you about our 2nd best day ever – all thanks to Men’s Liberty!
I may be mistaken, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but to me it seems that many Adaptive Sports athletes are veterans. Tommy was, which is why I started with our local Veterans Association.
I always first recommend using the internet – specifically, Google. Just do a few searches. Here’s my 5 highest recommendations for search words and phrases:
- Wheelchair activities
- Wheelchair games
- Adaptive sports
- Wheelchair support groups
- People with Disability support groups
There’s more than 20 million “results” for those 5 searches alone.
So what about Associations and Organizations? Before I give you my recommendations, these groups seem to be focused in 2 different areas. First – education, protection and laws. Housing laws, workplace and employment laws, etc.
And second (which has been our focus) – locations, events and activities for people with disabilities.
Here’s my 5 highest recommendations for those groups:
- U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs – VA Adaptive Sports – http://www.va.gov/adaptivesports/va_groups_main.asp
- Paralyzed Veterans of America – http://www.PVA.org
- Wheelchair Sports Federation – http://www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org
- Sports Abilities – http://www.SportsAbilities.com
- Disabled Sports USA – http://www.DisabledSportsUSA.org
Of course, don’t forget to do searches and talk to people about organizations, groups, locations and events in your LOCAL area! I promise – talk to one informed person, and he or she will lead you to 5 other informed people! It grows and it’s exciting!
I promised to tell you about our 2nd best day ever. Here it is:
It was the day we discovered Men’s Liberty! And all the problems it IMMEDIATELY SOLVED! We will forever thank all the wonderful people at Men’s Liberty (that’s a whole different article – lol)!!
As many of you already know, participation in any event requires planning and skill in the area of “bladder management”, including all the problems, infections, irritated skin, rashes, and everything else associated with it.
PROBLEM SOLVED as soon as Tommy began using Men’s Liberty. We can’t thank you enough, and it’s been fun sharing this information with a fantastic group of people.
Thanks to all the people we’ve met along this path – our lives are so blessed and full as a result of what we thought was a tragedy! And thanks to all the wonderful friends we have at Men’s Liberty!
Oh yeah… one more thing. Remember Tommy saying ‘I can’t run’? You should see him “run” now! Just like all his friends – he can’t stop running in his wheelchair!