This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Exercise and Fitness After Spinal Cord Injury. Michael Boninger M.D, researcher, discusses The Benefits of Team Sports.

I think team sports and spinal cord injury bring in not only fitness, so you’re propelling around a basketball court, but you’re part of a team. And, you know, one other part of this is competition. You’re back out there. A spinal cord injury can be devastating, and to then become part of a team, to win at something, to be better at something, is really a phenomenal thing to experience. And it really, it can be transformative for people’s lives.

And you know one of the other things that I think tends to happen eventually in every wheelchair basketball player’s career is they’ll play a game against people who have no disability. So I’ve played wheelchair basketball. I’ve played sled hockey, which is ice hockey for people with disabilities. And every time I do, I get soundly trounced by someone who can’t move their legs. Often they’re, you know, only twelve years old, as well, and they beat me.

And you know … what it does is it levels this entire playing field between people with disabilities and people without disabilities. And so it’s great for the participants to see that they can achieve at that level, to be part of something. And it’s kind of great for the other people who participate to realize that, you know, disability is kind of in the eye of the person who’s looking at, you know, in the eye of the individual.

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