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Thread: Coaching disabled groups
09-19-2004, 06:46 AM #1
Coaching disabled groups
I'm planning to start a badminton group for a local neuro-spinal injuries rehabilitation hospital. The hospital cares for people with a range of disabilities; most of the disabilities are physical, with some patients confined to a wheelchair. There are also some mental disabilities (for example, confusion and poor short-term memory).
Fortunately I have the enthusiastic assistance of the head physiotherapist, who is helping to organise the group. But I'd also appreciate advice and ideas from fellow coaches, some of whom may have experience in this field.
The group will be fairly small and low-key, with an emphasis on fun, participation and socialising. However, I don't want to neglect skill development entirely; it will be especially useful to improve the skill of the therapists, since accurate placement will be essential when hitting to someone of limited mobility.
Your thoughts gratefully received
09-19-2004, 04:50 PM #2
coaching those with disabilities can be hard any adive would be great actually people as a few of us have been called in to coach the british dwarf badminton team head coach knows thm well and so will hopefully hav ideas on how to appraosh the coaching
12-11-2004, 12:31 PM #3
I have started the club at last; so far we have had two sessions. We are only able to play once a fortnight.
The patients seem to enjoy the sessions a lot; some have said that they would play every day, if it were available. The therapists are excited about the physical benefits for the patients: in badminton, they can do some movements that are impossible in physiotherapy, or at least very difficult.
The head physiotherapist explained this to me recently. She said that most of our basic movements (our motor skills) operate at a sub-cortical level; that is, the actions take place mainly in the spinal cord and do not involve the brain cortex. In physiotherapy, the patients are thinking about how to move their limbs. But in badminton, they don't have time to think - they just have to reach out and move to hit the shuttle. This means that badminton is better at engaging the sub-cortical motor skills; the body learns to move without so much involvement of the brain.
I may not have expressed this very well, since it is not an area I understand properly. But her word is good enough for me.
Unfortunately the turnover of patients is now very high; they have about 8-12 weeks on average, before leaving the hospital for other community care. This limits the amount I can build up the patients' skills, since I don't have many sessions with them, and we must overcome extra difficulties due to their disabilities. But even so, the benefits to the patients are tangible.
I will continue to run the club, and see what happens. Some time in the future I may think about providing a service of wider scope to the community - I'd like to be able to offer a club for those enthusiastic players who have left the hospital, and perhaps to spread the idea of badminton as a therapy and a fun pastime for disabled people.
There are still many disabled people who sit silently at home, because going out is difficult and many places are not designed to cater for them. Still, as a society, we are getting better at recognising the needs of disabled people. Badminton could be one way for these people to regain a more active life and get involved in a community to whom they are often invisible.
I don't know how deeply I will get involved in such projects; but regardless, I believe there is an opportunity to do some good.
12-11-2004, 08:27 PM #4
Gollum, this is really exciting!
If your physiotherapists are seeing some benefits, you MUST do a randomised controlled trial (RCT) for definitive results and publish it.
Have one group assigned to usual treatment.
Have another assigned to badminton playing therapy.
If there is a result in favour of badminton, this will only be good for our sport.
Do it before your time gets limited!
For the good of medicine, an RCT is very important. I think you might have a winner here.
Maybe we can discuss via PM if you are willing.
12-13-2004, 06:44 AM #5
That is an interesting idea, and I would like to be part of something so exciting.
But for now I must be realistic. Until recently, I had difficulty persuading the hospital to hold sessions every two weeks, rather than every month. This project is still in its infancy, and it needs to be kept simple so that it will survive.
There are extra difficulties that would face such a trial. Every patient has different injuries and prospects of recovery; it would be hard to make any meaningful comparison.
Before good comparisons can be made, we will need at least a much larger sample base - more people involved! For now, I have only a small hospital group.
But I will keep the idea in mind, for when there may eventually be a chance to use it.
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