For participation in sports, custom wheelchairs are usually tailored to the needs of the user in a variety of ways. Some manual ones can weigh less than 20 pounds and have a foldable frame, making them easy to lift. Collapsible handgrips mean that the chair cannot be pushed without permission, and detachable motors can provide power when required.
For racing, a smooth ride means increased speed so racing chairs have long, carbon-fibre frames to absorb vibrations with a single large wheel at the front to improve balance. A racing chair’s camber increases stability by widening the base, smaller rims reduce arm movement and encourage a more natural motion while pushing down and out.
Having one or two extra wheels at the back, a chair customised for basketball remains stable during spins while the increased angle at which the seat slopes back avoids falls. Improved ball handling and balance is gained by lower positioning of guards, while higher seats increase reach while shooting and rebounding.
When playing tennis in a wheelchair, rear-positioned anti-tip wheels prevent falling backwards during turns, while balance is supported by using straps across the stomach, hips, thighs, or feet. Some chairs have seats that pivot to save energy as users move their upper bodies, and pressure mapped cushions can increase comfort for pressure points.
For rugby, chairs need to be agile and robust. Defenders use bumpers on the front of the chair to catch and grasp the opposition’s forwards so they can’t cross the goal line, while the forwards tend to sit lower in chairs, with their bumper and wings in front of the wheels to avoid being trapped as they try to score. Rugby chairs also have an extreme camber in order to protect players’ hands during collisions.
Handcycle athletes either steer by hand or use their whole bodies to lean into curves. Chairs for handcyclists maximise speed through turns, avoid tipping, and minimise drag by being low to the ground. Athletes can utilise various seating positions which include lying, sitting, or kneeling to maximise their performance and comfort.
Participants in sport who use wheelchairs, are often using some of the most technologically advanced assistive devices in the world.
With over 20 years’ experience producing and selling wheelchair accessible vehicles in the UK, you can be sure that we can offer excellent customer service with a level of knowledge that is completely unrivalled.