Physical Rehabilitation Through Sports Activities

A division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Paralympics, was formed to become a world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and to promote excellence in those people with physical disabilities. Formed in 2001, U.S. Paralympics has been helping Americans  achieve their dreams.   U.S. Paralympics is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people with physical and visual disabilities daily through education, sports programs and connections  with community organizations, government agencies and medical facilities.

 There are an estimated 21 million Americans with a physical disability.  In recent years, thousands of military personnel have sustained serious injuries during their tour of active duty.  Research has shown that daily physical activity improves not only the  individual’s self-esteem and peer relationships, it also results in a higher quality of life, increased achievement and better overall health.  However most individuals with physical disabilities do not have the opportunity to participate in  regular sports activity., That’s why U.S. Paralympics is working hard to make this an important national issue.

 There are 3 ways in which U.S. Paralympics operates programs. 1) Community Programs. U.S. Paralympics manages many outreach initiatives, that connect with individuals who have physical disabilities directly and supporting Paralympic organizations with program development.  A key goal of the U.S. Olympic Committee is to increase the availability of Paralympic sport programming  across the country.  By partnering with existing organizations, as well as the development of new programs, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Division is targeting 250 Paralympic Sport Clubs in American cities by this year of 2012. USOC Paralympic Military Program. 2) The Paralympic movement was founded through a rehabilitation program developed for  World War II veterans that were wounded.  In addition, the Paralympic Military Program provides rehabilitation support and mentoring to American veterans  who  sustained physical injuries.  Veterans are introduced to Paralympic opportunities and sport techniques   through various clinics and camps.  They are also connected with ongoing Paralympic sports programs in their hometowns.  The program is not just about sports; it is also about attitude, comaraderie and promoting healthy, active lifestyles. 3) Elite Athlete & Team Support. U.S. Paralympics has been a leader in the preparation and selection of national Paralympic teams for 24 different sports.  The athletes represent the U.S. in the Paralympic Games and other international competitions.

 Another impressive organization that combines the disabled with sport is Israel’s TIKVOT.  Tikvot is a non profit volunteer based organization which rehabilitates Israel’s victims of terror through sport. Tikvot means “Hopes” in Hebrew and it has been proven that sport, Tikvot’s tool, provides these heroes with Hope, giving them the power to restore self confidence and dignity. Tikvot operates in tandem with the world’s top specialist organizations with specific expertise in the design of unique sports rehabilitation programs suited expressly to each disability. TIKVOT – brings along the guidance, support and funding for these projects, beginning with the onset of injury and the subsequent period of hospitalization to ultimate rehabilitation on the sports field. 

When rehabilitation is required for sports or disease related injuries the affected patient should have access to the best physical therapy products available. Such devices can be found in the TUTOR system. Consisting of the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR, The TUTORs have become a key system in neuromuscular rehabilitation for stroke victims and those recovering from sports injuries, brain and spinal injuries, Parkinson’s, MS, CP and other limb movement limitations. The TUTOR products implement an impairment based program with augmented motion feedback that encourages motor learning through intensive active exercises and movement practice. They consist of ergonomically designed wearable glove and braces that detect limb movement showing the patient how much active or assisted active movement they are actually doing. The rehabilitation software uses specially designed  games to set a new target for this movement in terms of the patient’s ability to move their affected limb. The devices then measure the limb movement and give feedback on the success of the patient in trying to gain this new movement objective. In this  way the patient understands which effort is more successful in allowing them to move their affected limb again. The TUTOR system provides exercises that are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive and intensive exercise practice. The TUTORs are now part of the rehabilitation program of leading U.S. German, Italian, French, UK and other foreign hospitals. They are available for children from the age of 5 and at home throughthe use of telerehabilitation. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL  for more information.

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