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.
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:
- Trying anything new can have its challenges – keep trying! Don’t give up the first time!
- Try multiple sports – you never know which ones you might like! And you’re not limited to playing just one.
- Many programs have equipment available for you to borrow while you are getting started
- For brand new coaches and volunteers, many programs offer training to help increase your knowledge about the sport and what role you can play.
- 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.
- 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!