* This post is written by a guest blogger - it is not sponsored. *
I’m Nienke, have studied medicine and currently finishing my research master's clinical epidemiology, and are now working as a clinical research coordinator for WheelAir, a company that makes ventilation for in your wheelchair seat. A product I benefit from a lot during playing wheelchair hockey/floorball.
I’m a wheelchair user for 9 years now, I used to play field hockey at quite a high level, and it was one of the sports I was missing. So, I decided to look at what the options where for hockey in a wheelchair and found out that wheelchair hockey exists and that I could compete in it. That is now 7 years ago, I progressed from playing in the 4th class to the highest class and am now part of the Dutch national wheelchair hockey team as a goalkeeper.
Playing a sport helps me overcome obstacles, I learned a lot from my teammates, you see how they cope with things and take curbs etc. And it’s really a way to deal with the negativity in your life, it takes your mind away from it and pumps you up with some good positive vibes. And by working on your strength and endurance you will notice that you can do more on your own in daily life, you get more independent, which is awesome!
That is also exactly what keeps me motivated, the positive energy that I get from it, playing in a team with teammates also really helps. And of course, the progression that I make. As you see that you become better in your sport, that is a good motivation to train harder and become even better than before.
Some people think wheelchair hockey is a bit boring to look at, but especially when you play in the higher divisions it’s really a lot of fun and a fast game. Also, those who do not use a wheelchair in their daily life or do not have a handicap are allowed to compete, which makes it a really good sport for integration and to show people without a handicap what is possible if you do use a wheelchair, so also for the imaging of the sport, it’s good.
I would say, try something you like, sports can give you so much energy, and connection with people who understand your physical challenges, and it will make you grow as a human! So just start, try different sports, buy second hands equipment, or rent it from someone, and try out what gives you energy. If the first sport isn’t what you had hoped for, try something else, there are lots of sports, so find the one that fits you the best and ENJOY!
WheelPower is the national charity for wheelchair sport with history dating back over 70 years and the work of their founder Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the father of the Paralympic Movement. From their home, Stoke Mandeville Stadium they provide opportunities for disabled people to enjoy sport and physical activity, whilst benefiting both mentally and physically from leading a healthy and more active lifestyle.
WheelPower is at the heart of wheelchair sport in the United Kingdom and they continue to support thousands of disabled people every year through a calendar of sporting events, online exercise resources and funding to support individuals to reach their sporting potential. Find out more by clicking HERE and get involved!