Para sport is open to anyone with a physical disability and it can be played by athletes with a visual disability, a spinal cord injury, amputations, cerebral palsy, spinal bifida, multiple sclerosis, and other physical disabilities. There are also clubs and sports who welcome persons without a physical disability to play. Para sport welcomes individuals to participate both recreationally and at the competitive level and there has been remarkable growth in para sport over the past few decades. There are currently 27 sports that are part of the summer and winter Paralympic Games and the Canadian Paralympic Committee works with 38 para sports in Canada — 31 summer and 7 winter (Canadian Paralympic Committee, 2012).
In 2018, we launched our Para NB Database recruitment software and in 2019 we began populating it with members registered with the program. To date, we have registered participants with a physical disability, coaches, officials, volunteers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, as well as physical education specialists throughout New Brunswick.
Participants with a physical disability have been registered with their current involvement as well as their future interests. This helps gather data to determine which specific sports and recreation opportunities should be developed and prioritized in which specific regions throughout the province. This helps us in our partnerships with Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs), municipal recreation departments and other sport groups by ensuring program development that is target-based to maximize participation, is financially responsible and is inclusive of all abilities.
As a recruitment tool, we can utilize the database to help with the promotion of programs and events being offered throughout the province by directly targeting any individuals who have registered interest in a specific sport or activity as well as recruit for coaches, officials or volunteers as needed. As many activities may require adaptations to ensure inclusivity of all participants, we can help facilitate the participation of an occupational therapist and/or physiotherapist as well.
The Para NB database software is very versatile and has been broadened to include a wider variety of recreation groups. We have learned to expand the database interests and have added a list of active living activities. For example, we are tracking the interests of beachcombing, birdwatching, fitness classes, walk/roll groups and outdoor pursuits to help boost recreation options that are not sport specific but still gets you active.
To register, please call our toll free number 1-866-462-9555 and ask for a Para NB staff!