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Sport brings people together at Inter Spinal Unit Games 2017

WheelPower, the national charity championing British Wheelchair Sport, recently brought 92 people from spinal injury centres across the UK and Ireland together for the annual Inter Spinal Unit Games. The Games are widely recognised as the flagship event that helps to introduce wheelchair sport to people who have recently accquired a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident or illness.

Male wheelchair user playing table tennis

Participants travelled from as far afield as Belfast and Glasgow to take part in this unique sporting event which has been running for 30 years. 

Held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, the Inter Spinal Unit Games gives many participants their first taste of taking part in sport as part of their rehabilitation.

The participants enjoyed a week long experience, staying locally in accessible accommodation. They benefited from the guidance of leading wheelchair sport coaches and athletes, and got to try all the sports before taking part in the Games.

Chris Turner, National Sports Director at WheelPower said:

“The Inter-Spinal Unit Games provided a wonderful opportunity for people from across the UK that have recently had a spinal cord injury to come together and take part in a variety of sporting activities.
"We know that taking part in sport and physical activity enhances disabled people's quality of life, giving them confidence, improving their wellbeing and helping to connect them to other people. The stories captured from the participants during the Games embodies this fully and provides a starting platform for people to live and enjoy an active lifestyle.
"Our vision is to help transform lives through sport and this event does exactly that, by providing opportunities to introduce disabled people to sport and supporting them to find an activity that they are passionate about and enjoy.”

One such person is 24-year-old Oliver Carpenter (pictured above), who won the Table Tennis title.

Speaking after the games, Oliver said:

“Ever since I was a little kid my dad and I played tennis and table tennis, so even in a wheelchair you keep some of that old muscle movement in the arms and hand to eye co-ordination. So it’s nice to get back playing them again.
“It’s been amazing, my injury was seven months ago and to come to a place like this and try all these different sports I never thought I’d be trying has been amazing. You meet lots of other people who are also in a wheelchair. It’s nice just to trade tips and ideas and it obviously encourages you to get active again despite the injury.”

Now in its 28th year, the Inter-Spinal Unit Games has supported thousands of people living with spinal injuries to enjoy an active lifestyle and include sport as part their rehabilitation.

Find out more about WheelPower and other opportunities to be active, visit WheelPower website

Photo credit: WheelPower