Surprising Sports you Can Still Play with Spinal Cord Injury

After sustaining a spinal cord injury, introducing exercise into your routine can feel intimidating.

There are many sports for people with disabilities, especially spinal cord injury. Click to read more in our article.

However, there are many sports for people with disabilities, especially spinal cord injury, regardless of whether you are a paraplegic or tetraplegic, so much so that many people relish playing sports again.

Keeping fit after spinal cord injury is crucial to not only your physical health but to your mental health and wellbeing. There are plenty of ways to work towards your fitness goals, and depending on whether you want to build it gradually or take part in more competitive sports, there will be something for everyone.

Wheelchair Basketball

Basketball has become the go-to sport for those with spinal cord injury to enjoy ever since it was modified for wheelchair users. As one of the first sports for wheelchair users, it is now one of the most popular sports in and out of the Paralympics. The sport was initially formed in 1945 as a way for World War II servicemen in the US to seek rehabilitation and is now a great activity for wheelchair users that doesn’t compromise any of the original games.


Swimming is one of the most popular sports amongst Paralympians. As one of the best ways to get in shape, swimming is possible after sustaining a spinal cord injury. With a range of health benefits, the exercise does not cause any high stress on the body that other higher-impact sports do.

Independence is crucial for those dealing with spinal cord injury – swimming is the perfect sport because it doesn’t require any supportive devices to take part. It also strengthens muscle groups and the cardiovascular system.

If you have any motor function intact in your lower body, swimming is a great way to introduce exercise and many physical therapists now incorporate swimming into their patient’s routines to regain strength especially for those with incomplete injuries.


While running might be out of the question for those with spinal cord injury, that doesn’t necessarily mean that track and field are written off the activities list entirely. Athletes with spinal cord injury tend to build strength in their upper bodies so they can participate in sports such as 100-metre races, where they can rely on their arms to race in their wheelchairs.

Wheelchair tennis

Wheelchair tennis relies on upper body strength and is a great starting sport for those with minimal low-body mobility. One major advantage of wheelchair tennis is that people with spinal cord injuries can play a normal game of tennis with uninjured people, or there is plenty of opportunities to join a tennis team where all members are in wheelchairs.


Golf is a slow-paced sport for everyone to get involved in – especially those who are looking to enjoy sports again without pushing themselves too hard. Regardless of your abilities, there is an accessible option that can meet your needs, whether that be playing from a wheelchair or a single rider golf club.

Most golf clubs are required to make their courses accessible to those in wheelchairs but it is important to double-check before arrival to avoid any disappointment.


The art of dancing is all about enjoying the music and feeling the rhythm inside you. Almost every dance can be wheelchair friendly for people with spinal cord injuries to get lost in the music! Not only is it a great activity for exercise to improve mobility, but it can also increase confidence – something incredibly important for someone learning about their body and its abilities.

Extreme sports

For thrill-seekers looking for their next adrenaline rush, spinal cord injury does not have to hold you back from experiencing the excitement.

Sit Skiing

Snowsports require a lot of resilience and strength, but with developed equipment that can be used on snow and ice, the sit-ski enables wheelchair users and other people with disabilities to take full advantage of the slopes. It’s become such a favourite that it is even a Paralympic winter sport.


Handcycling is an inclusive way to cycle that is perfect for both adults and children. There are plenty of different types of handcycles that can meet the requirements of different disabilities – encouraging the same freeing feeling you would get from using a bicycle. The only difference is that you pedal with your hands rather than your feet.


Kayaking is surprisingly an extremely adaptable sport. Many people with spinal cord injuries, more so paraplegics, are equal to their able-bodied kayaking partners when it comes to abilities. This is something not always possible with other adaptive sports, so kayaking is a popular activity for those with spinal cord injury wanting to expand their hobbies.

Extreme sports can bring an element of freedom to those feeling restricted by spinal cord injury. Paramotoring, freediving, surfing and more are all optional to take part in; spinal cord injury does not have to limit any fun or excitement.

As someone living with spinal cord injury, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved, try new sports, and make new friends with others who are dealing with similar difficulties.  As a specialist spinal injury solicitor at Aspire Law, I have a wealth of experience representing clients who sustain spinal cord injuries.

Raquel Siganporia is a Senior Solicitor and Director of Business Development at Aspire Law. If you or a loved one feel you may have suffered a spinal injury as a result of an accident or someone else’s negligence, or you are concerned about the treatment you have received, contact Raquel free of charge and in confidence on 0800 030 20 40 or at Alternatively, email us at and one of our Spinal Injury specialists will contact you.