Do you ever think to yourself “there is something missing” or “I wish there was more I could do”? I certainly have! For years I have been missing out on sports and leisure activities that I used to love so much! I used to play soccer, football, badminton, and many other sports. Sports were a big part of my life.
We all need connection with people, leisure activities, and exercise for our physical and mental wellbeing. For me, sports was the answer. I broke my neck and my back in an accident in 1999 which left me as a person with incomplete quadriplegia. I walk slowly with a cane which seems to have left me caught in between two worlds. I did not see myself as an avid wheelchair user that could participate in wheelchair sports nor did I see myself as a person who had the ability to stand and participate in any sort of sport. Part of me lacked the confidence as well and another part did not even know how to start. Was I really able to play any sports? Would I have the athletic ability? No matter what your disability I am sure we can all relate that it’s not always easy to try something new and put yourself out there for things like sports. Two years ago I made a decision. I was going to reclaim that part of my life. I was going to get back what I was missing. I have started training to try and become better in a wheelchair and stronger. I have started looking for sports or leisure opportunities but came up with very little. The nearest opportunity for sports would seem to be in Winnipeg. I wanted the opportunity to try some sports and provide others that same opportunity so I started Brandon Wheelchair Sports & Leisure in 2017. I found out that in Westman, 16,983 people have a disability limiting their mobility (Statistics Canada, 2011).
There must be more people out there like me, but there are many barriers to people accessing Sports and Leisure activities when you have a disability including; transportation, physical health & limitations, monetary constraints, lack of support, and many more. I believe the community recognized that there is a need to help people with mobility impairments access to sports and leisure activities. We have received a lot of support and the participants also know when they come out that we are trying in every way to eliminate any barriers to accessibility and inclusion. As a community, we need to promote activities like this and assist in eliminating the barriers through education and support. Our vision is “Accessible wheelchair sports for all in Westman!”
He can be reached by calling 571-1334.
Submitted – Amanda Hamm