Sports Wheelchair SelectionBy Cooper, Rory A.; Sports 'N Spokes, Volume 38, Number 2, pages 34-35
Publication Date: March 2012
Article outlines steps to be taken in selecting a sports wheelchair. Before purchasing a sports chair, it is deemed wise to contact an adaptive sports program about borrowing a chair until the basic skills of the chosen sport are mastered. The best fit can be obtained with a chair specifically designed for a sport, including basketball, rugby, tennis, and racing. Even within a specific sport, design variations exist, including models for guards that are different from those used by forwards and centers in basketball, and offensive and defensive rugby chairs. General tips for fitting a chair to the user that apply to all sports chairs include (1) fitting the chair tightly to the body, using strapping, and choosing a seat that closely fits the contour of the body, referred to as total contact seating, to prevent pressure ulcers; (2) having the backrest as low as possible without negatively impacting balance, (4) setting legrest length to ensure the feet rest solidly on the footrest with the seat height at the desired dimension, and (5) choosing seat height, rear axle position, and seat dump that provide a stable seating position and allow maximal access to the pushrim for propulsion. Seat dump uses gravity to help push the user’s back against the backrest. Before placing the order for a chair, the reader is advised to consult with team mates or other athletes in the sport, work with coaches, and check with the regional manufacturer’s representative responsible for sports wheelchairs.
Published by: PVA Publications (Website:http://www.pvamagazines.com)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (Web Site: http://www.pva.org )