What is parasport?

athlete getting ready to race in his wheelchair

Parasport is sport for people with a disability. It is "para"llel to sport for able-bodied athletes, with adapted equipment or rules to make the game fun and accessible for everyone. There are also some parasports that do not have an able-bodied equivalent.

Getting Started

There are different ways that you can get involved in Parasport; as a participant, as a coach, as a parasport volunteer or as a community champion, connecting people you know to it. There are also ways for able-bodied athletes to provide support for participants with visual impairments, as guides, pilots and coxswains. You don’t have to pick just one role either: many people end up involved in a variety of ways depending on what they enjoy.

When getting involved, remember that you have a choice in your type of involvement regardless of what role you choose – there will be recreationally-focused opportunities and high performance-focused opportunities that you can work towards.

Sometimes parasport opportunities can be lacking in a city – you could play a key role in developing your community and getting it started!

Here are a few key tips from people who were once where you are now – just getting involved:

  1. Trying anything new can have its challenges – keep trying! Don’t give up the first time!
  2. Try multiple sports – you never know which ones you might like! And you’re not limited to playing just one.
  3. Many programs have equipment available for you to borrow while you are getting started
  4. For brand new coaches and volunteers, many programs offer training to help increase your knowledge about the sport and what role you can play.
  5. Bring your friends and family! Participation as an athlete in parasport is open to everyone at the recreational level – sport programs uses processes to make sure that the playing field is even, whether you’re a beginner, have different disabilities or are a friend who is able-bodied and would like to play as well. Friends and family members can also be great coaches, volunteers and support networks for parasport programs.
  6. People with disabilities are not limited to just getting involved as participants – you can learn more about becoming a coach, volunteer or community champion too.

How any parasports does the Canadian Paralympic Committee work with?

The Canadian Paralympic Committee works with 38 parasports in Canada — 31 summer and 7 winter. Twenty-eight of these parasports are part of the Winter or Summer Paralympic Games giving them a special distinction of being a Paralympic Sport. Participants can choose to play a parasport for fun, or play competitively - it's all up to you!