Disabled Youth Get on the Ice
Walking, running, even standing is something many of us take for granted; but for some folks, not being able to use their legs is a reality.Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CATHEDRAL CITY - Walking, running, even standing is something many of us take for granted; but for some folks, not being able to use their legs is a reality. Five organizations have come together to allow disabled youth to do something that many of them thought was impossible-- and that's play sports. For many disabled folks, sled hockey seemed like a dream. "It was something I never thought I would be able to do in my life again, but now I get the chance to do it,” says disabled Palm Desert resident Sergio Sanchez. He suffers from a spinal injury he got last year from a car accident. "I saw a video of my friend doing sled hockey and I decided to try it out,” says disabled San Bernardino resident Nicholas Jenkins who has Spina bifida. While some try it out, disabled sled hockey coach Joe Hamilton says not all are aware it's even a possibility. "There's guys that sit in their home for three or four years post-injury and are depressed because they don't know what's out there,” says Hamilton.
Incight is an organization that helps to educate the public on people with disabilities and helps to organize events and empower the disabled. Regional Director for Incight Judy May says sports is a perfect activity to help disabled people socialize. "It gives them independence. It connects them with other people. It puts them in their community,” says May. Not to mention, it allows them to see the world and experience other sports that they may not have heard of. "Any age, any disability for local youth and others to get out on the ice and experience a sport that they wouldn't be able to experience otherwise,” says May.
Hamilton has been coaching kids for a while now and says it never gets old. "When you help somebody else out, like a little kid, and you see the smile on their face, it makes your injury make sense,” says Hamilton. While sled hockey is the game today, these guys aren't closing any doors. "Never tried tennis before when I was able-bodied and now I hear you can do wheel chair tennis so I might give it a try,” says Sanchez. "I gained a lot of friends in sled hockey because everybody around us seems to really like the sport,” says Jenkins.
To donate to Incight, click here.