The Importance of Sports for People with Special Abilities

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I have always been fascinated by sports miracles, watching them on television fighting with all their might in the different sports; as if it were a matter of life or death! Yes, exactly... I am talking about people with special abilities who have stormed into the world of sports courageously, amazing people around the world!

I can never forget a scene I watched on one of the shows while flipping through the channels without a clear goal; what a scene it was! A young man without feet enters the arena in front of an audience and gets ready; in a moment, he was lifting a huge weight in the air amid the cheering and applause of the audience. The young athlete broke into tears and his coach embraced him strongly; it was a moment I have never and will never forget! Since then, I have been asking myself frequently: What was the feeling of this champion at that moment? What was his motive over the past years to achieve this?

Thus, I decided to explore this world, to find answers to these questions that have intrigued me and found that practicing sports is one of the most important necessities in the lives of those with special abilities. Through sports, they can express themselves and release their anxieties and energy in spite of the disability. Sports can also help them integrate into the society by joining competitive markets with others.

Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, Founder of the Paralympic Games in England, supported the idea, stating that "Sports can help people with disabilities restore their physical and moral balance, helping them integrate into the society, and develop their physical and mental abilities". This was during the World War II, when the issue was not of interest to the people, societies, and organizations. Recently, however, this has changed completely; these heroes have become an integral part of the fabric of society.

There are many games that people with special abilities can practice, and where competitions occur periodically. There are around 23 officially recognized sports that are now practiced just like the ones practiced by people who do not suffer any disability; I am almost certain that people with special abilities practice them better at times!

The individual's body, appearance, and characteristics can tell a lot about the personality; they are basic means of dealing and interacting with oneself and others. Through this interaction, the relationship of a person with his body is generated, in addition to the ability to recognize it; this is called the individual's mental physical image, which is characterized by continuity and change throughout the different stages of life. Individuals are prone to injury on their body level, which leads to a body image that differs from the image that was formed before. As a result, some resort to certain fields to prove themselves and send clear messages to all that "I always can!".

In this respect, Kamar El-Sherif, Events Manager at the Abu Dhabi Special Care Center, stated that sports can help people with special abilities accelerate their rehabilitation process, giving them strength, flexibility, tolerance, and neuromuscular correspondence. Due to the promotional role of sports, they acquire social skills and experiences that can help them enjoy their life, communicate better with others, and develop self-confidence. She also calls for the establishment of sports programs that suit different age groups according to each case, then following up on these programs and writing reports about them to become a reference to the Center to identify the development resulting from the programs and the treatment plans based on the latest scientific studies.

We have to seek the merging of all sports federations, as the main aim of sport is to develop social and spiritual relationships; get out of introversion, isolation, and fear from others; cooperate with others; and develop physical fitness. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body, and a healthy body is an athletic body; through an athletic body, even people with disability can move and interact within the society in an effective and serious manner is more lively; this is the simplest benefit of sports.

Every person suffering a disability wonders: Is it time to look inside for strength and develop it? Is it time to choose the right sport that we can excel at and prove that we are strong and that our disability does not weaken us, but strengthen us?

We will always be legends and stars shining in the sky for anyone who thinks we cannot... We will tell them with pride and strength, just watch us and enjoy!

References

Adel Khoga, "The Impact of an Open Sports Program on Improving the Body Image and the Concept of Self-esteem and the Development of Fitness Related to the Health of Those with Special Needs", Algeria.

Osama Reyad and Nahed Ahmed Abdel Rahim, "Motional Measurment and Rehabilitation of the Disabled", Cairo.

Sawsan Shaker Majid, "Contemporary Trends in Caring for and Developing the Skills of Children with Special Needs", Amman.


The original article was published in the SCIplanet Magazine, Summer 2018 issue.

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