When people suffer a disability remaining active can be a challenge.  And that is where the Adaptive Sports and Recreation program which is part of the Memorial Rehabilitation Institute at Memorial Regional Hospital South in Hollywood comes in.

The program encourages former patients from the Rehabilitation program and members of the community with physical disabilities to participate in a wide variety of adaptive sports. Some of the participants have achieved athletic success. There are two wheelchair basketball teams. One earned second place at a national tournament.

“We have people with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, amputation, strokes, or anything that affects their mobility who participate,” said Ray Shipman. “We have a division one and  division two basketball team. They practice three times a week.

The sports program can be very competitive or it can be completely non-competitive. “This is about encouraging people with disabilities to stay fit and stay active with people. Sometimes people with disabilities will go into their room and become depressed and feel hopeless. We want to prevent that,” said Shipman. He is an experienced athlete who played football at the University of Central Florida and in the National Football League.

Some of the people involved have suffered strokes. Others have been involved in car accidents. One man suffered a severe disability following a car accident. Now he enjoys being a part of the wheelchair basketball program. He began to feel better about his situation and also became a very good wheelchair basketball player.

Some of the other sports include hand cycling, adaptive scuba diving and adaptive golf. On Fridays, there is an adaptive fitness program which includes calisthenics “We want to increase the mobility of our patients,” said Shipman.

Adaptive Sports will hold a special event at Markham Park on March 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. About 100 people have been a part of the program and he would like to see more people become involved.