A variety of adaptive sports provide barrier-free recreational and competitive opportunities for people of all skill levels and age groups, as well as their family and friends. The athletic programs run year-round and include wheelchair basketball, soccer, hockey, cycling, golf, swimming and more. Equipment is available to borrow for a nominal fee, such as: hand-cycles, sport wheelchairs, bi-ski, mono-skis, and bowling equipment. Social outings include movies, dinners, or concerts.
A membership fee of $50 per year is requested to help offset program and equipment costs. Members receive reduced rates on activities, special events, and equipment loans.
Disability Resources wheelchair basketball is a recreational team. We play pick-up games for fun on a weekly basis at PACE School, 69 Capital Drive, West Springfield. Regular practices with some drills take place along with occasional games with community groups for charity. Wheelchair basketball is designed for people with decent upper body strength, as we play with a regulation basketball hoop. We would like to develop a competitive team at some point, but until then, we are working with the Worcester team to encourage our members to play with them. We use all court or sport chairs donated from the Newman’s Own Foundation. Manual chairs only. We supply chairs if athletes don’t have their own. Wheelchair basketball takes place December through March depending on interest. Open to children and adults.
Adaptive bowling takes place at Shaker Bowl, 168 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow. We have several bowling ramps with balls with no holes to use on the ramps. Volunteers assist by retrieving balls if participants are unable to lift them from the ball return themselves. We have access to light weight balls for those who are ambulatory and want to play. Staff are trained to help with visually impaired athletes as well. Bowling takes place year-round. Open to children and adults. Only $2.75 per game.
Our accessible cycling takes place on the Norwottuck Rail Trail at 8 Railroad Street in Hadley for 8-10 weeks in the summer. Instruction, adaptive equipment, and assistance are provided if needed. We have a wide range of bikes ranging from traditional two-wheel bikes, recumbent three-wheel bikes, various hand cycles, tandem bikes, push trikes, and duets. Participants are welcome to bring their own bikes as well. Pre-registration is a must. Call All Out Adventures at 413-527-8980 to register for a one-hour time slot. The best place to park is on the lawn closest to Route 47. The fee is $3 a week. Adaptive Cycling is run in collaboration with the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) Universal Access program, All Out Adventures (AOA), and Disability Resources.
Unity Dance Spectrum at 405 Broadway Street in Chicopee has partnered with Disability Resources to offer a dance class for children 12 and under. Classes take place throughout the school year. Dancers participate in the studio’s Christmas show in December and recital in May. The studio is accessible. We offer guidance and lessons. Classes are taught at an appropriate pace for participants. Disability Resources encourages independence, but if you need one-on-one help, that’s OK – we just ask that you bring someone to help you. Please dress in dance clothing for class. Dance classes cost $32 per month plus cost for recital.
Goalball is a paralympic sport for the blind that uses a ball with bells inside. Three people play on a team. Athletes play on their hands and knees, so this games requires participants to have good physical ability. Participants wear knee and elbow pads and eyeshades. It is helpful if participants can supply their own protective equipment because our supply is limited. Goalball takes place at PACE School, 69 Capital Drive, West Springfield. There is no particular season for Goalball. We play depending on participants’ interest, but we would like to have it become a more regular and even competitive sport for Disability Resources. Players ages 8 and up.
The Golf for All People (GAP) program meets at Fenway Golf at 112 Allen Street in East Longmeadow. GAP is designed to serve people who like to golf. We have two adaptive golf carts and several sets of golf clubs made for people who use a wheelchair. LPGA golf pro Susan Teitel provides instruction and assistance. GAP is open to beginners through experienced golfers. Participants need to be able to hold and swing a golf club. We do have some adaptive gloves that can aid you in keeping your hand(s) on the club. GAP costs $10 per week (golf balls included). GAP takes place during the Summer.
Skiing takes place through Abilites Plus at Mount Snow and Vermont Adaptive Sports and Ski (VASS) at Pico. Our program includes mono-skiing, bi-skiing, sit skiing, blind skiing, 3-track skiing, and 4-track skiing. We try to make it work no matter what the participant’s ability. All adaptive equipment is available at the mountain, but pre-registration is required. Disability Resources also has some ski equipment available to loan to members who wish to ski on their own. We organize ski trip and carpool to the mountain 4-6 times during the winter. The program is open to all members. About $55 per day includes lift pass, ski rental, and instructor. We ski for the day with a one-hour lunch break. Family and friends are welcome to participate, but the cost may vary for them.
Interested in skiing more or somewhere else? Check out this website which covers a whole range of options across the USA and Canada: https://www.vouchercloud.com/resources/adaptive-skiing-resource
All members of Disability Resources are welcome to participate in social activities. We encourage members to be social and meet new people. We try to go out to dinner once a month somewhere affordable and accessible. We try to choose restaurants on the PVTA bus line. Participants pay on their own. We also have movie theater outings, card games and pizza, etc. Periodically, we pull together a like-minded group of participants for regular meetings for several weeks, such as the Young Adult Program.
Indoor Wheelchair Soccer takes place at PACE School at 69 Capital Drive in West Springfield. It is truly a cross-disability sport as someone with little movement who uses a power chair can play alongside someone who has full upper body strength. Players use power or manual chairs, and there are wheelchairs available for ambulatory players. The game is played with a latex-free ball on an indoor basketball court. The ball is moved by passing with hands or kicking, depending on the player’s ability. Goalies guard a two-foot by four-foot net at each end of the court. Adults play for two 20-minute halves, while juniors play four 15-minutes quarters. Cost is $50 for Disability Resources members; $70 for non-members. All practices are open to players of all ages and skill levels.
Power Soccer is our newest program. Across the country, it is a growing sport. Click here to learn more. New England is just starting a league and we hope to eventually become a part of it. Only power chairs with special attachments are used. Athletes use the attachment to move the specialized larger sized soccer ball. There are four players per team.
Ambulatory Soccer is designed for people who have a disability but can walk (with or without a walker) and would like to get excercise and have some fun. We play on a small field, often on the grounds of Holyoke Community College, for scrimmage or pick-up games with whomever shows up.
Swimming takes place at Springfield College, where participants are paired up with a student (usually from the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation) for one-on-one assistance. It is not a therapeutic pool. Floatation devices are provided if needed. There is a small fee for the program, which culminates in an aquathon fundraiser coupled with a celebration for participants. Swimming is a 10-12 week program held in the evenings. Participants must be continent or wear protective swimwear.
Track & Field
Track and Field takes place at Holyoke Community College. As a team, we warm up and walk the track before practicing sprints of 100, 200, 400, or 800 yards depending on ability. We customize the program for the participants. Disability Resources has racing chairs in some smaller sizes that can be loaned if people are interested. We offer class-one track with cones for people in power chairs and softball throw for children. Field events include discus, shot-put, club, and javelin. Track & Field takes place during the Spring. Open to children and adults of all abilities. A small fee applies.
Sled hockey is an exciting ice sport that allows individuals with physical disabilities to enjoy the great sport of hockey. It is very similar to “stand-up hockey” in terms of concept and rules. The main difference is that instead of standing up to skate, participants sit on their skates using an adaptive device known as a sled, which is affixed with two skate blades and a runner in the front to form a tripod. The other main difference is that in sled hockey, participants use two shortened hockey sticks with a blade on one end and a pick (similar to the end of a figure skate) on the other end, which enables them to propel themselves across the ice much like in cross country skiing. Hard checking, elevated puck shooting, and 60-mile an hour slap shots are as much a part of sled hockey as they are in “stand-up” hockey.
Anyone with a disability that would prevent them from participating in “stand-up hockey” is a candidate for sled hockey. It is a sport that allows players with mobility limitations & lower limb mobility impairments to play, and requires great upper-body strength, balance, and the ability to handle the puck. Even able-bodied individuals enjoy the sport of sled hockey and can play on a team.
Sled Hockey takes place at Amelia Park Ice Arena at 21 South Broad Street in Westfield.
If you are between the ages of 5-18 years old, you can try out for the Springfield Sliders. The Springfield Sliders is an outpatient rehab program started by Shriners Hospital for Children then turned over to CHD so that it is open to all children. We hope this team will be a feeder team for the Western Mass Knights.
Players 18 years & above, the Western Mass Knights is the team for you. The Knights were created in 2009 as a team for the young adults who aged out of the Springfield Sliders but still wanted to play competitively locally.
We play in the Northeastern Sled Hockey League. All players (including juniors) need to become members of USA Hockey in order to play in the league.
The teams rely heavily on in-kind and financial donations because each player is specially fitted to their equipment. Ice time and sleds are purchased by the program and members pay just a small fee to play for the season: Adults $250; Children $100. We try to keep the costs low for participants who may be facing financial hardship due to medical expenses and the cost of living. Donations are always welcome.
Check here for times and dates when the Western Mass Knights play in Newington, CT. All games are free!