ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR HOCKEY
History of Electric Wheelchair Hockey
Electric Wheelchair Hockey emerged by accident. In the early seventies a few schools for disabled pupils started giving sports lessons, mainly for severely physically handicapped people. Because of the limited possibilities for the children, (mainly due to restricted muscle power), a game is chosen in which they use a hockey stick and a hockey ball of lighter material. Because of the great similarity with hockey, the same name is used and the word “wheelchair” was added. Later on, the word “electric” was added to indicate that participants make use of an electric wheelchair. This ontogenesis can be seen in all countries where electric wheelchair hockey has developed.
The past shows, this new sport answers the need of many severely disabled people. For example, in December 1978 and 1979 two pilot-tournaments were held in The Netherlands, in 1981 competition starts and on the 26th May 1982, the first national championship ever was organised, in which the best teams of the regions competed. It seems that people with a severe disability can participate for the first time in a team sport. Despite the sceptic attitude of the medical profession (body-exercise could negatively influence the patients’ physical condition) they show that practising this sport stimulates one’s self-esteem and because of that it causes a positive effect to the players. This discussion lead to the fact that Electric Wheelchair Hockey is not used for rehabilitation and nowadays it becomes accepted as a real sport.
Electric Wheelchair Hockey is a provisional IWAS Sport Section and is working towards seeking full Sport Section status.