Para-rowing is growing in popularity here in Canada, and the opportunity for more people to try it is growing as well. Para-rowing is not new to the rowing community - previously named ‘adaptive rowing’. It has been offered at many clubs around the world for over 20 years. If you have a disability, you may feel that rowing poses quite a challenge to overcome, what with the docks, boats and water. And indeed, it initially can be more challenging, depending on your limitations. But knowledge and education around para-rowing has grown over the last few years, and coaches and clubs are more aware of how to create a club environment that’s inclusive of all athletes.
There are three general classifications for para-rowing: Legs, Trunk and Arms (LTA), Trunk and Arms (TA), and Arms and Shoulder (AS).
Legs, Trunk, and Arms (LTA): LTA rowers are able to use the sliding seat as well as their trunk and arms. Examples of LTA rowers are individuals with a visual impairment, a fused ankle or wrist joint, or a below-knee or foot amputation. Above-knee leg amputees are also classed as LTA if they have full function of their sound leg.
Trunk, and Arms (TA): These rowers have trunk movement but do not use the sliding seat because of significantly reduced function of the lower limbs. This could include bilateral above-knee amputation, significantly impaired quadriceps or certain neurological impairments.
Arms, and Shoulders (AS): Rowers in this category usually have no or minimal trunk function and apply force predominantly using the arms and/or shoulders. AS rowers use pontoons fixed to the riggers to aid stability. The fixed seat will have a backrest to provide support and to allow the rower to be strapped into the boat.
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Legs, Trunk, and Arms (LTA) shown below
Trunk, and Arms (TA) shown below