Bowling for people with disabilities on the rise

April 30, 2009 10:11:58 AM PDT
Last fall, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's fitness center added a new sport to their roster, bowling.This is an activity that can be adapted for people with different physical abilities. Bowling has always been an activity that attracts people of all ages. Now, with adaptive equipment and accessible bowling lanes, bowlers with physical disabilities can be part of this American past time.

Although RIC's bowling team just started, bowlers are exploring their abilities, said director of fitness Mitch Carr.

"May be a wheelchair user and they may not need a ramp or some may need a ramp, there's ambulatory bowlers that may have weakness in one side of the other, and again they're just adapting, whether that means by shifting weight, balance or using that ramp to help bowl," Carr said.

Bowling for people with physical disabilities is on the rise.

"In fact, there is a national bowling league, like the Professional Bowling Association. There is wheelchair bowling league on a national level that people can compete at," said Carr.

The program is new, so they are looking for more bowlers when it starts again in the fall.

"The bowlers pay a small fee. It's a $30 fee for the program that carries them through the entire length of the program," said Carr.

Beginner bowler Victor Pirsoul has multiple sclerosis.

"I think my best game is a 67," Pirsoul said.

Another new bowler is Maggie Pawlowska. She just started a couple of weeks ago.

"I'm loving it every more every week," said Pawlowska.

"The neat thing about adaptive bowling is it is an inclusive sport," said Carr. "We want family members to think, 'Well, just because someone may have had a traumatic injury doesn't mean that their life ends, we can still go out as a family and bowl.' "

To learn more about adaptive bowling and other sport programs offered at RIC's fitness center go to www.richealthfit.org or call (312) 238-5002.


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