Sporting Wheelies helps JP achieve his health and social goals
Brisbane’s Jean-Paul (JP) is kicking goals in health, movement and social connection thanks to the sport of Boccia. After being introduced to the sport by his social worker, JP joined the Sporting Wheelies Inclusive Sports program and hasn’t looked back.
The Inclusive Sports program gives participants aged six and over the chance to try a range of accessible sports such as wheelchair basketball, boccia, wheelchair rugby and goalball.
Participants can experience many benefits such as improved physical health, increased mobility, learning new skills and making new friends.
JP joined the program 11 years ago and chose to focus on Boccia after becoming hooked during a try-out day. He says he was immediately taken with the precision and competitive nature of the sport.
“I saw first-hand the valuable impact the sport and community had on people just like me. Boccia introduced me to social engagement, a new sport and Sporting Wheelies to improve and maintain my physical wellbeing. This helps me to remain independent and live an active, healthy life. Boccia is also a highly competitive sport at the Paralympic level which very much appealed to me,” JP said.
One sporting activity supports several goals.
Boccia is helping JP to achieve his social and community participation and general health goals. One of his NDIS goals is: to build global strength and mobility to ensure he can live independently for as long as possible.
“I have muscular dystrophy (FSH), a genetic condition that causes progressive wasting of the muscles. It’s important that I exercise to keep my body physically and mentally strong,” JP said.
In addition to regular Boccia training, JP works with the Sporting Wheelies exercise physiologists and a personal trainer once a week. You’ll also find him working out regularly in the Sporting Wheelies accessible gym.
“Working with an exercise physiologist helps me with everyday activities and sporting participation as it improves my endurance, strength and muscle control. Working out regularly over the past three years has been a huge contributing factor in helping me lose over 27 kilograms,” JP said.
“It’s also improved my physical and mental wellbeing and confidence. Now, it’s easier for me to transfer from my wheelchair to a car, or my bed, be more independent in my personal care needs and I can more physically and mentally put more into activities like Boccia. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to achieve.”
JP has gone on to represent Australia in Boccia on the world stage. This year he has already travelled to Italy and Chile to represent Australia.
JPs approach to setting goals.
Goal setting is something JP has practiced throughout his adult life – at home, in his studies, in sport and of course his NDIS Plan.
“Goals provide me with a vision and a guide to what I would like to achieve in all areas of my life. By more specifically breaking down these goals, either by myself or with others like the team at Sporting Wheelies, I can develop a plan to successfully achieve my goals and overcome life’s challenges,” he explained.
After returning to the Australian Boccia team and competing in Italy late last year, JP wants to continue to compete in Boccia internationally, including at the Santiago World Boccia Challenger event in Chile in 2023.
The Sporting Wheelies Inclusive Sports program is available throughout Queensland, with additional programs coming soon at their newly launched Para Clubhouse in Milton.
This article was first published in Leap In Magazine.