b'Life with MSAAddaappttiivveeSSppoorrttssAny sport can be adjusted to your circumstancesBy Eric PierceStaying active while living with MS is one these activities is wide and varied. If a sportof the cogs in my wheel that keeps me rolling. or leisure activity exists, then there is a way toAs we all know, a diagnosis is given and a adapt it for all to enjoy. Adaptive sports arenew normal begins. Life has a before and after based on existing able-bodied sports, modiednow that requires you to redene happiness to meet the needs of persons with a disability.and success, or else sadness and stagnation These include tennis, basketball, handcycling,may settle in. Thus, the journey begins to waterskiing, sitting volleyball, and evenrebuild a quality of life that is enjoyable and kayaking and shing, to name a few. Therepurposeful. are even such things as adaptive yoga andI was diagnosed with primary progressive Zumba. While each is dierent in how itsMS in 1992 and, in one sentence, my life was played or performed, all adaptive sports promoteipped upside down. In that appointment, my physical, mental, and social well-being.physician commented that there is nothing Being active allows a person to build upper-worse than an injured jock. He had known I body and core strength, while improving oneshad always been physically active including motor skills and mobility. While participating,a love for motorcycles. I left feeling dejected, a person begins to see their body performingalone, and lost. My identity no longer existed, in a way they may not have thought possible.so who was I going to be? Their self-image and condence will increase,Thankfully, I was introduced to adaptive allowing them to have a dierent perception ofsports and began playing wheelchair tennis in their disability. This self-condence translates1997. At the time, I was still fumbling around into a persons ability to be independent andon forearm crutches while transitioning to transfers into their everyday life. using a wheelchair. I had never played before, One of the greatest eects of adaptive sportsbut quickly fell in love with the sport and the is the introduction to a peer network. Illnesspeople that played. I have tried many other is isolating. Sports breaks that barrier andsports, and they all give me a feeling of freedom encourages friendships and sharing of ideasfrom the shackles of my illness.and resources. Surrounding myself withParticipation in adaptive sports is an positive, upbeat people enjoying life with anopportunity for you to re-engage and see your array of dierent injuries and abilities givescapabilities, not your disability. The reach of me the courage to face the challenges of livingmsfocusmagazine.org 16'