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This blog post is taken from the ‘Cerebral Palsy’ factsheet, produced by sports coach UK in partnership with Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport) and Nottinghamshire County Council.
The following information has been written by those with a great deal of experience in this area. The information is provided as guidance only, allowing you to be more informed in your approach to being a more inclusive coach. No two people are the same; as such, please ensure your first step is always to speak to the person – understand their abilities and goals, and never assume.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition arising from damage to the motor areas of the brain that can occur before or during birth, or later on in life through a traumatic head injury, stroke or similar condition.
Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive brain lesion and causes variable impairment of the coordination, tone and strength of muscle action, impacting on posture and movement.
It is important to understand the following two points:
Potential Characteristics of People with Cerebral Palsy
Depending on the severity of their condition, a person with cerebral palsy may have one or many of the following:
Including People with Cerebral Palsy in Your Coaching Sessions
While there are many types of motor control problems, athletes are affected by ataxia, athetosis and spasticity.
Ataxia: Difficulty with balance, trunk control, rapid and fine movements – a wide-based gait is sometimes used to compensate for this.
Athetosis: This results in involuntary writhing movements, which are uncontrollable, irregular and jerky. Often, these movements increase with emotion and stress.
Spasticity: Cerebral spasticity is a state of increased muscle tone with increased reflexes. This may fluctuate depending on various conditions, including posture, positioning, stress and temperature.
More involvement in lower limbs than upper limbs.
Involvement in upper and lower limb and trunk on the same side.
Involvement in only one limb.
Total body involvement (ie head, neck, trunk and all four limbs).
Primarily three limbs involved (sometimes referred to as asymmetric quadriplegia).
Download the factsheet.
For further information and support, visit:
The CP Sport website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
sports coach UK also has a number of workshops you can attend to help you become more inclusive in your coaching. Visit the sports coach UK website to find out more about these workshops.
Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with your fellow coaches? Leave a comment below.
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