How powerchair football started for me – Duchenne Diary #1


General / Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Sport Engagement

Engaging sport can help you grow in different ways. It helps the mind, keeps you fit and helps you develop key skills in life. Even with disability you should always look to get into sport if possible. While sport may not be for everyone, you should always look for ways to push yourself further to become something greater than you were yesterday. 

Story begins… Powerchair Football Story

My journey in sport was varied. I had many opportunities to try out different sports but I never decided in the perfect sport to play. That was until I was introduced to a new sport, a sport like no other. Today I will be taking you though my own experience with playing Powerchair Football.

Where it started

During my first year at secondary school, I had just started using a powerchair. It want something I was particularly confident in using, especially as I only ever used it when my legs got tired. I needed something to help me gain some extra confidence and enable me to emphasize with other in the same boat.

Eventually, I was told about a sport know as powerchair football. There was a local club nearby that can, so I accepted the offer and tagged along to see what it was all about. At first I was apprehensive, especially as the sport used powerchairs to drive into a ball but after a while I got more and more into the sport.

Over several years later, I am still playing the sport and committing to tournaments and training on a regular basis, alongside university and my career.

What is Powerchair Football?

So what kind of sport is Powerchair Football? To put it simply, it is fast football on electric wheels. The chairs themselves are typically expensive pieces of equipment, which use a metal guard attachment to help you but the ball. As for the ball you play with, they are sturdy and normally slightly smaller than a beach ball. Did I mention that they go super fast too!

4-a-side style football

Additionally, for the games you play – they are usually 40 minutes long with 4-a-side style play. Substitutions can be make through the game if the teams choose, considering they have players to swap with. Each game also has a referee and it’s set of rules, such as no contact and limitations to how many players can enter the goal area on defense.

Aim of the game/ sport

Similar to football, the aim of the game is to score in the opposition goal. However, the size of the pitch is significantly smaller, being around the same size of a basketball pitch.

Both teams can use their chairs and equipment to pass, dribble and complete set pieces to success in the game. Every team with have their own ideas and strategies, much like any other sport around.

Popular sport around the globe

Many tournaments exist in England, the United States, France, Ireland and many other countries around the globe. Here in Britain, Powerchair Football tournaments run with the help of the Wheelchair Football Association which clubs all over England pay to support and enter sanctioned events to compete competitively to finish at the top.

Nonetheless, the sport is growing in popularity by the day due to the fast paced nature of the game. It is also one of the few sports that requires the use of specialized Powerchairs alongside Powerchair hockey

Sport develops your Skills

I felt that joining the sport gave me development opportunities. Communication, teamwork, leadership and initiative were developed throughout the years of playing. In many ways, this enabled me to push towards a career and gave me the confidence to seek many opportunities. Any sport in fact can offer these qualities, which are essential if you are required to work with others as part of your job.

Acceptance

Throughout the years playing Powerchair Football, I have met many other people with disabilities. Meeting a lot of people with disabilities helped me feel like I wasn’t alone with my disability. Many people in the sport were succeeding in their own careers, families and personal endeavors. Without having met other people with disabilities, I wouldn’t have been as motivated as I am now to push on with my own career and succeed in my own unique way. 

Plus as everyone else was in the same boat as my, I was more accepting with having a disability because I knew I wasn’t alone. Previously I covered a post on not giving up, which can be found here.

Over the years my condition has deteriorated away at a steady rate and while I cannot walk anymore, Powerchair Football has kept me active. Sport gets you to use your mind, voice and some muscle function to guide and communicate to your team effectively.

Shit Happens

It didn’t mean playing the sport didn’t have it’s problems. The team would have it’s fallouts and complications, causing slight disagreements. While these weren’t nice things to deal with, there was always a way to overcome these problems. Learning from these adversaries enabled me to better deal with issues in the future, particularly in the workplace where difficult situations can arise at any moment.

Sometimes we move on from sport…

Unfortunately, as time goes on you find that sport is something you will have less time to commit to it. You may also find that you sometimes have to let down your teammates for reasons out of your control. Realistically, people will also have to do important things, such as focus on their career.

Choices

As important as it is to play sport casually or competitively to keep the body and mind healthy, you also need to do other things like have a career or work on personal projects. I have seen players come and go on that basis, which is sad but at the same time people sometimes just need to move on with their lives.

It can’t always be helped…

While it’s fine to say no, it’s also important that you consider your team at times. Your teammates need you and letting them down can be worrying.Always let them know in good time, unless it cannot be helped at all. Life can throw at lot at you at times too so be understanding when your teammates can’t turn up for a legitimate reason.

Time to get into sport…

Thanks you checking out our first Duchenne Diary. I will be writing these regularly so be sure to keep checking back in the Dynamic Double blog under the experiences section. Don’t forget to check out the other posts on the blog too, such as our food and drink and general section. Please feel free to share your experiences below in the comments or write to the blog if you would like to be featured in future experiences.