Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wheelchair Sports

Prior to my accident I was vaguely aware that there were wheelchair sports. I envisioned slow moving older people in wheelchairs and rules that were completely changed to make it easier to accomplish in a wheelchair.

Boy was I wrong...

Thursday night I attended one of the weekly practices held by the tennis division of the Grand Rapids Wheelchair Sports Association. These players are true athletes armed with amazing chairs that enable them to play as fast as any tennis player I've ever seen. They welcomed me to their practice and gave me a sports chair to use during the practice.

Make no mistake, these wheelchairs are designed for speed and turning. One grab of the left rail at speed causes a 7G turn that causes a small blackout and neck snapping turn. Once your brain catches up with your bodies new location, you have to look across the net, push as hard as possible, and be ready for the next volley. The athletes that use these chairs are in exceptional shape and would give any able bodied tennis player a run for their money.

Each of the players introduced themselves and included me just like I was one of the regular team members. I was impressed with the players and coaches of the GRWSA and I hope to return to another practice at a later date.

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