The Value of Sport for Children with Cerebral Palsy Beyond the Most Adaptable Activities
Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent disorders impacting movement and posture caused by abnormal development of the brain or damage to the developing brain. While cerebral palsy can present in a variety of ways, the disorder is commonly classified by the following movement disorders: stiff muscles (spasticity), uncontrollable movements (dyskinesia) and poor balance and coordination (ataxia). As the most common motor disability in childhood, cerebral palsy significantly impacts how a child is able to engage in recreational activities and sports. This review examines four adapted sports including: wheelchair fencing, cycling, alpine skiing, and archery, in addition to two sports originally created for individuals with cerebral palsy: boccia and frame running, to consider the value in providing unique opportunities to engage in physical activity to children with cerebral palsy. In this review, there was evidence in support of these less-discussed and less common adaptive sports in their ability to increase the physical activity options available to individuals with cerebral palsy, to contribute to one’s physical therapy goals, provide opportunity to work alongside one’s peers and to increase the overall mobility of individuals.