Following the Amputee Games in Summer 2009, when we had a chance to watch the GB Men play Sitting Volleyball, and have a go ourselves, a Sitting Volleyball Club was set up in Portsmouth.
I was there from the first training session, and have played in the three Grand Prix tournaments that have been held so far. I am primarily there as a player, but I do take along a small first aid kit just in case— so far, I’ve strapped a hyperextending thumb!
I train and play alongside some former patients, which is a great way of secretly monitoring their progress! Seriously though, it has been fantastic to see how strength, motivation and adjustment to their amputations have developed.
As Sitting Volleyball is played sitting on the floor without prosthetic limbs on, it may be hard for some prosthetic Physiotherapists to see the benefit for their patients. I would say, come and watch us, or check out You Tube, and you’ll see!
Sitting Volleyball develops upper limb and spinal strength and range of movement. It also develops reflexes, core stability and provides a good cardiovascular workout. It even ‘toughens up’ the ischial tuberosities – so important for ischial-bearing transfemoral patients!
The psychological benefits mustn’t be overlooked. To be able to participate in a new sport where disability doesn’t matter, play alongside and against able-bodies players and, for some, be selected for GB training, gives a huge morale boost.
In my Physiotherapist role I’m able to inform users of the DSC, be they prosthetic, orthotic or wheelchair patients, about Sitting Volleyball and encourage them to come to training. I urge you to support Sitting Volleyball England and promote it among your patients – you never know, you may get to see them play Sitting Volleyball at the Paralympic Games!
Katharine Atkin Specialist Physiotherapist in Amputee Rehabilitation Portsmouth DSC