Adapting Common Fall Sports for People with Disabilities

October 02, 2020 12:06 PM

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a Michigan Medicine program launches a new video series to make fall sports accessible for people with disabilities.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many activities being canceled, one Michigan Medicine program is making sure people with disabilities can still participate in recreational activities safely from their own backyards.

The University of Michigan Adaptive and Inclusive Sports Experience, or UMAISE, works to enhance the physical, social and emotional development for people with disabilities by providing fun sports and recreation activities overseen by industry professionals, such as recreational therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physicians and rehabilitation engineers.

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“Of course it’s disappointing that we can’t offer our participants our usual in-person, large group activities due to the pandemic,” says Seong-Hee Yoon, director of technology and innovation for UMAISE. “But, we came up with an idea to offer them virtual content.”

To keep UMAISE participants, and any person with disabilities, participating in sports and recreation activities during the fall season, UMAISE developed a series of videos to coach participants through sports drills, tips for adapting gear and COVID-19 safety precautions to take into consideration.

“We’re excited to present four videos: soccer, tennis, kayaking and camping,” says Melissa Tinney, M.D., the medical director of UMAISE. “We hope our UMAISE participants, and our friends around the country, find the videos helpful as they keep up with fun physical activities at home.”

The UMAISE team reminds participants to still practice COVID-19 safety measures when playing with neighbors and friends, including social distancing, keeping at least six feet between you and your fellow athlete, wearing a mask, washing your hands before and after playing and avoiding touching your face during sports activity.

“We hope to keep adding additional videos to our series and encourage our participants to check back often to our YouTube playlist,” Tinney says.

Visit the UMAISE website to learn more about the program and how to enroll.