The community that exists around Powerchair Football is one that is close knit and when we are together for league match days is often at its best as many families and players meet and have stories and experiences to share. The togetherness with the community is evident for all to see, players and families are committed to their clubs and attend training regularly every week and players look forward to match days to see their hard work coming together. Many of the ‘dads’ even take up refereeing through our course or do linesman duties.
There are so many factors that are important to the communities we serve. Through Powerchair Football we want to ensure we include people that may not otherwise be able to compete in sport due to their disabilities. Powerchair Football is played by people who use an electric wheelchair on a daily basis and who have a high level of need. For the people in this community the ability to play competitive football is something they could have only dreamed about, but now it is a reality.
Most players in the UK now have a specialised chair to play the sport which costs in excess of £7,000 to individuals and families. At its best the sport is fast paced, dynamic and extremely skilful…..it really is a case of seeing is believing! So the commitment in buying the chair to serve the players for years to come is there from many individuals and families so we have a duty to provide the competitions and opportunities for them to play the sport they love.
Playing the sport really helps them overcome confidence issues, they meet new people and friends for life and it dramatically improves their mental health and well-being as it gives them a purpose and something they can belong to and look forward to – no one is at a disadvantage in a world where it is very difficult for them to be included most of the time.
We serve a very large community as the sport of Powerchair Football is mixed gender and open aged. In order to be able to play we have a mixed dispensation policy in place with The FA as when players are training and in matches there is no physical contact between players but only their chairs.
We serve players with a wide range of conditions but typically the most common disabilities include Muscular Dystrophy, Muscular Atrophy, Cerebral Palsy and Brittle Bones. As you can see these are severe muscoskeletal conditions which effect a person’s upper and lower body movement and strength. There is literally no other team sport someone can play with these health conditions due to the strength or movement needed in the limbs. The only other sport is Boccia which is a Paralympic Sport but is very different from Football and other team sports.