- What are the benefits of participating in wheelchair sports?
- Who is eligible for Bridging the Gap?
- Is Bridging the Gap only for people with newly acquired disabilities?
- What if there’s no wheelchair sports program near me?
- How fit do you have to be to participate in a Bridging the Gap event?
- Can you help me arrange transportation to a Bridging the Gap event?
- Can someone in an electric wheelchair participate?
- Can children participate at Bridging the Gap events?
- I’m interested in playing a sport that is not one of your core sports. What should I do?
What are the benefits of participating in wheelchair sports?
Physical activity is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for people with disabilities. Studies have shown that people with disabilities who are physically active have fewer hospital stays, better mental and physical health, less loneliness, are more independent and are more likely to be employed. The strength gained from sport participation also makes daily life skills like transferring easier, enabling participants to lead a more independent life. Participants also benefit from meeting people with similar disabilities. For many people with disabilities, a return to sport is a major step in leading a full, active life.
Who is eligible for Bridging the Gap?
Bridging the Gap is appropriate for all Canadians with physical disabilities who can operate a manual wheelchair and are healthy enough for physical activity. All ages, genders, and disabilities are welcome. Generally, our participants are between the ages of 16 and 50, but we do have special programs for junior participants.
Common disabilities of our participants are:
• Spinal cord injury (quadriplegia and paraplegia)
• Spina Bifida
• Cerebral Palsy
• Muscular Dystrophy
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Post-Polio Syndrome
Please note that you do not have to be in a wheelchair full-time to participate. Many of our participants, such as amputees or people with cerebral palsy, are ambulatory. If you’re wondering whether you’re eligible, please contact your local program coordinator.
Is Bridging the Gap only for people with newly acquired disabilities?
No. Whether you’ve got a newly acquired disability or you’ve had a disability since birth, you’re welcome at a Bridging the Gap event. Bridging the Gap is a great program for people who want to return to wheelchair sports after a hiatus, or who play one wheelchair sport but are looking to try another sport.
What if there’s no wheelchair sports program near me?
Living outside of a major city sometimes makes getting involved in wheelchair sports difficult. The good news is that a Program Coordinator can help you to get involved in individual sports such as racing or handcycling. We can also help you to get a program started in your area.
How fit do you have to be to participate in a Bridging the Gap event?
We welcome people of all fitness levels. Our Have a Go events can be tailored to your comfort level. All of our events involve a fun, supportive atmosphere.
Can you help me arrange transportation to a Bridging the Gap event?
If you’re having trouble arranging transportation to an event, please contact your local program coordinator. We understand that transportation can be a barrier to participation, and we work hard to ensure that every participant can take part.
Can someone in an electric wheelchair participate?
Some of the sports we demonstrate, like wheelchair basketball, require participants to use a manual wheelchair. Wheelchair tennis, however, can be played in an electric wheelchair. Depending on the level of disability, however, some participants who use electric wheelchairs for every day use are still able to play wheelchair rugby in a manual wheelchair. We are also happy to refer you to other sports that use powerchairs, such as powerchair soccer or boccia.
Can children participate at Bridging the Gap events?
Depending on your child’s age, he or she may be appropriate for attending a Bridging the Gap event. If not, however, he or she should attend one of our junior-focused events. We can also connect you to junior programs in sports like wheelchair basketball across the country. For more information, contact the program coordinator in your province. If your child is under the age of 8, he or she might be appropriate for the Let’s Play program.
I’m interested in playing a sport that is not one of your core sports. What should I do?
We occasionally partner with non-core sports such as wheelchair athletics and curling to provide one-time Have a Go Days in a region. If we do not conduct Have a Go Days or clinics for the sport you’re interested in, however, we are still happy to refer you to the appropriate people in order to get you involved.