If you thought people who are wheel-chair bound are not able to lead productive lives, this basketball match will surely blow your myth away! In an effort to overcome prejudices against disability and promote wheelchair sports as a healthy mechanism of raising self-esteem, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj today organized a one-of-its kind basketball match, also marking the occasion of World Disability Day.
The friendly match was played between the sports team of ISIC and the specially abled residents of Vasant Kunj and other nearby areas of south-west Delhi.
With a five member team each, the match took place at the sports complex of ISIC, which is specially designed to have a wheelchair accessible multipurpose court to address the needs wheelchair-bound sportspersons.
The ISIC sports team consists of players who are either disabled due to congenital disorders or a spinal injury and includes IPD patients and OPD patients. While physical deformity certainly restricts body movement and mobility, the unparalleled enthusiasm displayed by the players on court today showed that it cannot confine talent and willpower.
The best players of the match were awarded and refreshments were provided to all the participants after the match was over.
“When it comes to rehabilitation of people confined to wheelchairs, ISIC is entirely dedicated to develop a long term strategy for their well-being. ISIC places special emphasis on rehabilitation and advance assistive technology to enable people with spinal and other orthopedic injuries lead independent and productive lives. We believe in equal participation of persons with disabilities in an inclusive society that embraces humanity in all its diversity and today’s basketball match was a small effort in that direction,” says Dr H S Chhabra, Medical Director, ISIC and Secretary, Spinal Cord Society.
Wheelchair basketball is practiced in around 100 countries and is now recognized as a Paralympics sport, although the practice of this sport is still at a nascent stage in India. Earlier considered a recreational activity, it is now designed for athletes who have any form of physical impairment preventing them from running, jumping or pivoting. The measurements of the court and height of the baskets are same as normal basketball.
“I used to be a sports enthusiast and loved playing football, before I had a serious injury. Life is never the same after you get confined to the wheelchair; it creates a sense of negativity around yourself. However, I soon realized that I need to overcome this, and becoming independent became my motive. Basketball has been a savior. We have been playing together at ISIC for four years now and have a good bonding with my teammates. This game has given me a fresh lease of life and a positive outlook,” says Neeraj (One of the players of the ISIC basketball team.
It is pertinent to note that ISIC had organized in the past India’s first-ever Wheelchair Basketball Training Clinic in 2014 in collaboration with Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI). With its dedicated sports program, ISIC has been also promoting successful sportsmen like Pragya Ghilidial, Amit Saroha, Deepa Malik who have represented India at the international arena and even Paralympics. Besides basketball, ISIC also supports wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby and has produced the first-ever wheelchair rugby team of India that took part in the International Wheelchair and Amputee Games in 2009.
“Life on wheelchair can be quite uninteresting for a person. However, this should not spell an end to his/her passion for sports, or as a matter of fact, for anything else. In the recent past, we had ample examples of physically disabled people emerging victorious. I believe that all form of sports have an integral role in the rehabilitation process as it helps victims not only by physically building stamina but also gives them a confidence in their ability, building team spirit and camaraderie. In fact, wheelchair sports medicine needs to be promoted in the medical fraternity for healthy assessment of competitive sport capacities of the physically disabled,” adds Dr.Chitra Kataria, Head of Rehabilitation Services, ISIC.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is held every year on December 3 to raise community awareness and understanding of disability issues and mobilize the support agenda for dignity of persons with disabilities and integrating their contribution in every aspect of social, economic and cultural life of our societies.