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A sporting life for all

Guest blogger, Lauren Milstead, shares the extraordinary work of CPISRA and the benefits of a sporting life - social, fitness and fun!

What is CPISRA?

The Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) was formed in 1969 and is the leading international sports organisation governing and promoting sport and recreation for Cerebral Palsy (CP) and related neurological conditions.

CPISRA’s vision is that “all people who have CP or related neurological conditions have the opportunity to benefit from and participate in sport and recreation throughout the World”. CPISRA aims to provide and promote opportunities for recreational sport and activity, the development of grassroots adaptive sport, and platforms for regional and international competitive and elite sport. CPISRA is a founding organisation of the Paralympics and one of only four International Organisations of Sport for the Disabled (IOSD) recognised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to represent impairment groups.

CPISRA has been responsible for the development of new and adaptive recreation and sports, including Boccia, CP Football, RaceRunning and Wheelchair Slalom. In August this year, Sant Cugat in Spain welcomed 600 participants from 30 countries to the 2018 CPISRA World Games. In the 40 year history of the World Games, this year provided the broadest schedule to date, showcasing world class competition in para-athletics, para-swimming and under-19 CP Football, as well as development sports Camps and Competition for Boccia, Wheelchair Slalom and Female CP Football.

How can sport impact Quality of Life?

A recent review of the evidence on outcomes of sport and activity carried out by Sport England concluded that participation in sport positively impacts physical and mental wellbeing as well as individual personal development. Physical wellbeing outcomes include improvements in strength and health, as well as therapeutic benefits, impact on children’s development and behaviour, improved quality of sleep and increased energy levels. Studies also reported that participation in sport can increase general ‘life satisfaction’, by providing opportunity for enjoyment and happiness and reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress, as well as increasing social interaction, confidence and self-esteem. Participation in recreational sport develops and maintains physical and mental wellbeing, and promotes good health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“I believe that recreational fitness has played a fundamental part in my lifestyle, giving me independence and challenging preconceptions along the way. One of my favourite passions has been my outdoor pursuits, and the undertaking of these challenges has helped me maintain a physical and healthy lifestyle.” – Julie McElroy, Ataxic Hemiplegia, Head of Recreation CPISRA

“Sport is an important part of my life. It is not just about the competing or training, but sport also encourages me to maintain good physical and mental health. It is also the social and active part of sport which helps me to characterise my everyday life” – Graham Condie, Hypertonia, Research Officer CPISRA

With all of this in mind, CPISRA is passionate about promoting sport for recreation, wellbeing and enjoyment, as well as sport development and competition. Recreational sport can take many forms and at its simplest is defined as taking part in an activity that you enjoy in your spare time. Engagement in recreational sport can be participating in a sport itself, volunteering with sport or spectating sport in your community. Participation in recreational sport increases physical fitness, improves psychological wellbeing, provides social benefits for individuals and communities, and is FUN.

2019 International Outdoor Recreation Camp

In autumn 2019, CPISRA is hosting its first international outdoor recreation camp in the Lake District, UK. The camp will be held at the Calvert Trust and their facilities are accessible to all ages and levels of physical disability, including those for whom many outdoor facilities are not accessible. The Calvert Trust Lake District is a purpose build facility where guests can enjoy the benefits of outdoor activities in a safe and accessible, yet challenging environment and they have a firm ethos of “it’s what you can do that counts”.

Activities at the CPISRA outdoor recreation camp will include canoeing, rock climbing, wheelchair abseiling, orienteering, horse riding, and much more, with a focus on personal development, team building and the breaking of boundaries. Trying something new and achieving a challenging activity in a supportive environment can give a huge boost to the sense of wellbeing which can provide benefit long after the camp is over. The camp is open to individuals all over the world, and interested parties should contact lauren.milstead@cpisra.org.

More information

For more information on CPISRA, visit the website at www.cpisra.org, find us on Facebook or Twitter.


Date: 5 Oct 2018

Category: Quality of Life

Author: Robyn Cummins