By Zoe Fripp
Thirty physiotherapy volunteers from the University of Hertfordshire were crucial to the success of the first-ever ‘Winter Wonderwheels’ event on the International Day of Disability in December.
The event, created by Paralympian Sophia Warner, attracted over 500 disabled participants, and formed part of the ‘SuperheroSeries’; created to enable people with disabilities and an interest in sports a chance to participate in a variety of events, including running and cycling in 1km, 5km and 10km challenges.
“There are no cut-off times and all types of gadgets and gizmos are welcome, from day chairs, hand cycles, walking frames and trikes to tandems, race runners, blades and bikes,” Sophia explained.
“The physiotherapy student volunteers from the University of Hertfordshire, by far the largest group we had, were invaluable as their specialist training meant they understood how to lift and best help our athletes.”
Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the University of Hertfordshire, Danielle Ramsey, who led the volunteers shared Sophia’s pride: “By volunteering as Sidekicks our students have experienced the true meaning of inclusion and participation and how a person with a disability should never be under-estimated.
“Helping people reach their Superhuman/Superhero potential is, as physiotherapists, what we should be working towards. It is incredible to see just how inspired the students are following this event and I am very excited to see how this next generation of physiotherapists from the University of Hertfordshire will apply this experience in practice.”
Previous events held as part of the ‘SuperheroSeries’ in the Summer of 2017 include a Paralympic Triathlon, with three elements of cycling, running and swimming and a ‘Side- Kick Tri’ where participants could have as much help from a family member or friend as needed — no rules applied, and there were no equipment restrictions.
Sophia, writing for Disability Horizons, explained that disability sport is available to disabled people that need rehabilitation, or those aspiring to become Paralympians, and so she created the SuperheroSeries to bridge the gap in-between and make sport “available for everyone, in any circumstance.”
To find out more about upcoming, or past, events in the Superhero Series, visit: http://superheroseries.co.uk