Activities & Descriptions:

Motor Development: Designed for younger children with physical challenges, activities are selected to improve children’s fine and gross motor coordination. Youngsters improve basic catching, throwing, striking and movement patterns as they manipulate themselves through a variety of climbing apparatus and experiment with different pieces of athletic equipment. Following 45 minutes in the gymnasium, the athletes go to the pool for basic swimming orientation and instruction.

Ice Skating: Allows children with physical disabilities to enjoy recreational ice skating.

Fitness and Swimming: This program is designed to help improve athletes’ overall fitness level. Cardiovascular activities, as well as strength training programs are addressed in the fitness center, followed by time in the pool for basic swimming orientation and instruction.

Fitness Only/Swimming Only: An athlete can register for either fitness only or swimming only as described above.

Wheelchair Football: The wheelchair football program is part of an organized football league. Tryouts are held in order to help make equitable teams. Participants play a regular season of games that lead up to the playoffs and are followed by the Bennett Bowl. Any child with a physical challenge is eligible to play, but all athletes must use an electric or manual wheelchair. The Physically Challenged Sports and Recreation Program provides extra chairs for the ambulatory athlete.

Wheelchair Basketball: Opportunities to participate, train and compete in wheelchair basketball are provided for all athletes with a permanent lower limb disability. Participants can practice in three levels of play:

Ages 10 and under, 5′ to 7′ baskets

Ages 12 and under, 8’6″ baskets

Ages 18 and under, 10′ baskets

Ambulatory Sports Program: This program is designed for athletes who are physically challenged and can ambulate with or without assistive devices. Soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, junior baseball, tennis, golf and boccia/polypat/table tennis are offered, depending on the season of the year. Each of these programs is designed to accommodate all levels of play and ability. The formation of separate groups allows for different levels of competition.

Sitting Volleyball: Using traditional volleyball rules, this program requires athletes to play from the floor using a much lower net. This is a paralympic sport open to any athlete who is physically challenged yet able to maintain independent sitting balance on the floor. Athletes must also be able to move themselves with ease around the floor.

Wheelchair Floor Hockey: This is an instructional hockey program that enables students to build skills in puck handling, passing and shooting as well as game skills and strategies. Athletes who use an electric or manual wheelchair are welcome to participate. Athletes who have ambulatory disabilities can use a manual wheelchair available through the program.

Sled Hockey: The sled hockey program is designed for any athlete with a physical challenge. All levels of play and ability are available.

Boccia: Using the United States Cerebral Palsy Boccia rules, athletes have the opportunity to learn to play boccia, as well as practice the strategies used to play the game. The program is offered to individuals from beginner to advanced levels. Ramp players are welcome. The program organizes individual and team matches.

Table Tennis/Polybat: This is an instructional program for beginners and advanced players. Basic table tennis techniques such as forehand, backhand and the serve are demonstrated and practiced. Participants learn and use the rules of table tennis in practice matches and a singles tournament. Developed in England, Polybat is a game adapted from table tennis. Unlike tennis, polybat allows more than two players to participate at a given time. A lighter paddle and side walls offer greater control and an exciting experience. Rules for polybat are covered in a mini-tournament.

Tennis: The tennis program is designed to provide basic to advanced instruction in stand-up and wheelchair tennis. The program covers the basic skills of forehand, backhand and the serve, as well as basic strategy and match play.

Track and Field: The track and field program provides the opportunity to become familiar with the basic and advanced techniques needed to participate in competitions. Participants practice running form and pushing form drills, as well as interval training on the wheelchair rollers or treadmill. Participants receive instruction and training in the shot put discus, javelin, softball and club throwing events according to age and classification (athletes are classified to determine the appropriate events). Athletes receive information and assistance regarding opportunities to participate in local, regional and national competitions.

Baseball: The baseball program is conducted in the gymnasium and is open to all athletes nine years or older. Participants receive practice time and instruction for hitting and fielding the baseball, as well as ongoing instruction regarding the rules of the game. For safety purposes, athletes use a “soft tee” practice ball. Volunteers or staff pitch. The five-run maximum rule per inning is utilized. Athletes get five strikes, and each side is given three outs per inning.

Junior Baseball: The junior baseball program is conducted in the gymnasium and is designed for athletes nine years of age and under. Participants receive basic instruction in throwing, catching and hitting off a tee. A safe tee ball will be utilized for all activities. Games will be played to reinforce practiced skills, focusing on fun and participation.

Power Soccer: Power Soccer programs are available for power wheelchair users ages five and up. Adapted guards are attached to the power chairs to assist the participants in playing the ball. The program offers two levels of play: Division I for older more experienced players and Division II for developing players. Both programs are registered with the United States Power Soccer Association.

Golf: Golf is open to all athletes who can swing a golf club with one or both arms. Athletes receive instruction on proper grip of the club, basic swing instruction, chipping and putting. They use practice balls for all instructional activities except putting. Light-weight and adapted clubs are available for use. Athletes participate in field trips to the University of Maryland driving range as time permits. Those who complete the course successfully are eligible to participate in the program’s Summer Golf Day.

Admissions Criteria:

The Physically Challenged Sports and Recreation Program is open to individuals aged 2 – 21 who experience physical challenges and exhibit cognitive skills at or near appropriate developmental levels. Participants are interviewed along with their families to determine appropriateness for participation. Participants must demonstrate the ability to follow one-step verbal directions and to respond to verbal social and behavioral cues necessary for safe, independent participation in group activities.

Admission to the program is also determined based on the availability of space in a particular program.

Determination of eligibility is made during the interview by the program’s co-directors.

For more information please see our Contacts page.