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photo Not on the Sidelines
Living and Playing with a Disability
By Ben Achtenberg & Karen McMillan

More than six million Americans confront life with a disability which limits their mobility, but does not have to restrict their lives. This story of courage and character profiles four people, whose lives were suddenly changed by injury or illness when they were teens or young adults.

Denise was 18 when she broke her spine in an accident while drinking and driving; a hockey injury led to the infection which cost Paul the use of his legs; Kip's back was broken when the wall of a building he was working on collapsed; and Dale lost a leg to cancer. For each of them, a major key to rehabilitation has been their intense involvement in competitive sports. In telling their stories, they share with viewers the enormous emotional and psychological distance they have had to travel before they were able to accept life with a disability. They have struggled to break down their own prejudices about people with disabilities, to reevaluate their expectations and the expectations of friends and family, and to redefine social roles that they had taken for granted in the past.

But these are not just "inspirational" stories about handicapped athletes. Instead, Not on the Sidelines looks at how injury or illness - or just being "different" - can cut people off from their communities, and about how people on both sides of the ability barrier can reach out and re-establish connections. Learning to fly, skiing, playing wheelchair tennis, and taking to the ice in the new sport of sled hockey, these four ordinary people have persevered through times of discouragement and isolation to a new sense of confidence and engagement, and to a determination to share what they have learned with others.

26 minutes
© 2000
Purchase $219 DVD
Order No. QA-280
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-812-X
close captioned

"A truly inspirational program that may be used to motivate those with disabilities as well as those who serve them." Rehabilitation Professional

"An inspiration to all disabled people. A highly recommended program for all age groups, as well as for use in educational settings." MC Journal

"Provides an honest yet up-beat look at the realities of rehabilitation." Video Librarian

"Recommended for rehabilitation and sports-related collections and school libraries serving students with disabilities." Library Journal

Awards & Conference Screenings
Gold, National Health Information Awards
American Assn of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses
Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Twin Rivers Media Festival
Ojai Film Festival

Related Films
Kiss My Wheels: Through an exhilarating season of training and competition, the members of a junior wheelchair basketball team deal with difficult issues, from gender conflicts to injury, illness, and thoughts of death.

Wired for Life: Functional Electrical Stimulation technology (FES) seeks to use technology to enable people with spinal cord injuries to stand, transfer and, under some conditions, even to walk.

Breakaway: This provocative documentary tells the story of the conflicted relationship between two men coping with the consequences of severe, traumatic brain injury.

Luckey: From trying to re-spark his romantic life with his wife Ettie to keeping his work going with his son Spencer, Tom Luckey wrestles with his new condition as a paralyzed person.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website