Atlanta, GA,
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Experts Provide Self-Defense Tips for People Who Use Wheelchairs

People who use wheelchairs need strategies to defend themselves in dangerous and potentially violent situations. At Shepherd Center, recreation therapists counsel patients on self-defense, offering tips provided by WorldClass American Karate in Conyers, Ga. This group is home to the Ameri-Kan karate program for individuals with special needs.

Here are some of their tips:

  • The best self-defense is prevention. Be aware of your surroundings and stay away from areas with a high risk of confrontation.
  • Check around your car before getting in. If you're concerned about someone in or around a car near yours, leave the parking lot and return later or find a security guard or other person to accompany you to your car.
  • Keep aware of wheelchair-friendly exit routes in case you need to leave a situation quickly.
  • There is no guaranteed self-defense aid, such as pepper spray. Nothing works in every situation against every attacker. Be aware that the aid or weapon you have could be used against you.
  • Use your wheelchair as a ram against your attacker's ankles or shins. The pain will cause your attacker to move and give you a chance to get away. Angle to the side to avoid damaging your own feet when you make contact.

For more tips, read this blog by Barton Cutter, a leadership coach, writer and self-defense instructor who has cerebral palsy.

For more information on Shepherd Center's recreation therapy program, click here.


About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.