Disabled (and, often, other participating) athletes use streamlined sport wheelchairs for disabled sports that require speed and agility, such as basketball, rugby, tennis and racing. Each wheelchair sport tends to use specific types of wheelchairs, and these no longer look like their everyday cousins. They are usually non-folding (in order to increase solidity), with a pronounced angle for the wheels (which provides stability during a sharp turn) and made of composite, lightweight materials. Sport wheelchairs are not generally for everyday use, and are often a ‘second’ chair specifically for sport use, although some users prefer the sport options for everyday.
Continued below video
Recent technological advances are slowly improving wheelchair and EPW technology. Some wheelchairs, such as the iBOT, incorporate gyroscopic technology and other advances, enabling the chair to balance and run on only two of its four wheels on some surfaces, thus raising the user to a height comparable to a standing person. They can also incorporate stair-climbing and four-wheel-drive feature motorized assists for hand-powered chairs are becoming more available and advanced.
Three-wheeled wheelchairs are wheelchairs with the least wheels and are found in EPW technology.
Choosing a Seat Height
Seat height is the measurement from floor to seat. If the wheel chair seat is too low the user’s feet may drag. If the seat is too high, the user may have a difficult time exiting the wheel chair. To measure proper seat to floor height, have the user sit upright and measure the length from the heel to bend in knee. Add 1″ or 2″ for clearance & subtract the thickness of your cushion. Seat cushions are strongly recommended, especially for users who are likely to spend any significant amount of time in their wheel chair.
Armrests provide arm and shoulder support. There are 4 types: “Fixed” or “Permanent”, Adjustable, Removable, and Flip-Back. Some armrests are a combination of types, such as Adjustable Removable armrests. “Fixed” or “Permanent “armrests cannot be adjusted or removed. Adjustable armrests, on the other hand, can be adjusted to different heights. Removable and Flip-Back armrests can be moved out of the user’s way to allow for easy transfer in and out of the wheel chair. Armrests also come in two lengths, Full Length and Desk Length. Desk Length armrests are shorter in length and allow the user to sit closer to a table or desk.
Choosing Footrests / Legrests
Footrests and Legrests are the two basic types of support for a wheel chair user’s legs. Legrests elevate and therefore include a Calf Pad. This enables a wheel chair user to raise or lower their legs and lock the legrests in a desired elevation. Footrests provide leg support in a seated position and do not elevate. Both are available in Swing-Away. These may be tucked out of the way from their position directly in front of the wheel chair. This allows for unobstructed access to and from the wheel chair seat.