Equipment has come on a long way in the last two decades, says Adam McEvoy.
Powerchair Football is a unique format of football that provides opportunities for people with a high level of physical impairment to access the nation’s favourite game. The game was designed for anyone who uses a powered wheelchair or those who have limited movement in a manual wheelchair, though at a grassroots level, the game is accessible for anyone with a physical impairment.
The sport is fast-paced, dynamic and fantastic to watch. The unique nature of powerchair football allows all ages, disabilities and genders to compete together, and it’s great for building teamwork and communication. Teams play indoor on a basketball court during two halves of 20 minutes. The four-a-side game sees one goalkeeper and three outfield players used a specially designed powerchair to ‘spin kick’ a 33cm diameter ball towards a 6-metre goal. The game is also the only 2D format of football played competitively, as the weighted ball stays on the floor for player safety and protection.
Technology has evolved greatly in two decades to the game played today; the sport-specific chair has a low centre of gravity and fast turning speed to enable the players to perform a variety of skills.
In England there are over forty clubs and more than five hundred participants playing regularly. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own clubs, and Wrexham leads the way for powerchair provision in Wales. Jon Bolding is the captain of the England powerchair team and has played the sport for nearly 20 years. “Without Powerchair Football I wouldn’t have experienced half of what I have in my life. As a disabled person you have many struggles but when you are on the field you forget about it. It’s had a massive impact on my life and it constantly amazes me to see the people that play the sport and what they’ve done to get to where they are.”