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Occupational Therapists Can Play Pivotal Role in Sport Wheelchair Assessments

Author Travel Force Staffing | 03.25

Studies have provided empirical data that physical exercise, sports, and recreation are important components of a healthy lifestyle. And that rings especially true for those who use wheelchairs in their daily lives. Sport wheelchairs have made tremendous advances over the years and the technology and materials used in these personal vehicles have enhanced the wheelchair athlete’s ability and comfort in their sports participation.

Occupational therapists can play a pivotal role in selecting a suitable sports wheelchair that fits the user’s unique characteristics.

Fit, Performance, and Comfort

Occupational therapists and their patients have never had so many choices to consider when custom designing the optimum unit for their chosen sport. Whether the preference is basketball, tennis or even extreme sports, each athlete’s sport wheelchair can be custom made for efficiency and durability.

The use of titanium or aluminum in the composition of the frame offers a more mobile and versatile manoeuvrability. Built in shock absorbers reduce the impact on the body.

Special tires and tread configurations reduce the wear experienced on more standard wheelchair tires as well as increase speed, traction and mobility.

Video about Cory Yeung in his new Q7  sports wheelchair and hear what he has to say about his chair and his life.


The customization of the chair encompasses many factors to ensure the best fit and maximum performance. It starts with chair and body measurements, rollability including the proper tires for the sport, upholstery, frame configuration and ease of use.

Construction of the frame for lasting durability is based on the user’s center of gravity.  Wheels and casters are fitted strategically for greater mobility.  Alignment of the chair and proper axle adjustment are equally important to ensure accuracy of the intended action.  Rear non-tip wheels are installed based on the exertion of the desired sport.

There are many sports for mobility challenged athletes to participate in with confidence and reliability.  Rugby, racing, hockey and football are a few of the more popular choices.  Each chair can be configured to any sport or a generic chair may be best for the athlete that participates in multiple sports.

Assessments and Accessibility

Occupational Therapists can complete a sports wheelchair assessment including the size and shape of the patient, functional abilities, home and work environment, single- or multi-sport, indoor or outdoor recreation, and the need for special components such as head and backrests, extra padding, footrests, or wheel size and maneuverability. Occupational therapists can assist wheelchair athletes choose a chair that provides maneuverability and, more importantly, comfort.

In addition to the wheelchair assessments, occupational therapists can offer their expertise to making adjustments in the home to accommodate the sports wheelchair user. Accessibility issues such as ramps, storage, and transporting the wheelchair to events and games are some of the areas occupational therapists can advise their patients.

Wheelchair Accessible Home Video


Travel Force Staffing provides travel, temporary, and permanent staffing services to Outpatient Centers, Rehab Centers, skilled nursing facilities, and top rehabilitation hospitals nationwide. Specialty positions include Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Respiratory Therapists, PTAs, Speech Language Pathologists and other allied health professionals.

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