Introduction from Nikki Emerson

Nikki Emerson in her racing wheelchairWelcome to the Leonard Cheshire Disability ‘Get into Sport’ training guide for disabled people.

This guide is designed to provide you with the information that you need to take those, often challenging, first steps to ‘Get Into Sport’, achieve your goals and live your life to the full. It has been produced with the support of a wide range of experts from the various organisations which are involved in sport and exercise provision in the UK.

Sport is a really important part of my life and I hope it will be for you too. Just a few short years ago, I watched the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and was inspired by the amazing athletes and their incredible performances to take up sport and to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. At the time I didn’t know exactly what sports I wanted to do or how to get started, but thanks to the support of my friends, family and a fantastic coach, I’m now hoping to compete at the 2012 London Paralympics alongside some of the people I saw on my TV screen just four years ago.

Your goals may not, at least for the moment, be focused on winning medals, which is fine. Sport and exercise can enhance your life in many different ways. As well as improving your health, making every day activities easier and guarding against future health related problems, sport can be very fulfilling, a great social activity that provides a sense of freedom and independence and perhaps most importantly of all, it can be great fun!

You might be surprised by the amount of different opportunities that are available to you. As well as disability sports, which have been especially designed around certain impairments, like Goalball and Boccia, there is a wide variety of inclusive sports provision.

Inclusive sport is provision with many of the barriers to disabled people removed. There are lots of disabled people out there being active and enjoying sport alongside their non-disabled teammates, receiving coaching and support from qualified professionals.

I hope that you find the contents of this online guide useful and that very soon you will be enjoying and benefiting from having sport and exercise as part of your lives.

Nikki Emerson