Collaboration is a dynamic, creative, and interconnected process. My walking program has been built upon collaboration. From the beginning, I have combined approaches from a wide range of Health, Medical, Rehabilitation, and Fitness disciplines. I have used methods from physical therapy, yoga, dance, and functional movement to support my overall fitness and walking efforts. I have brought together professionals to contribute their knowledge and expertise in the advancement of my efforts to walk device-free. I engage professionals to problem-solve and develop new targeted strategies to improve my strength, flexibility, and other aspects of mobility.
Posts Tagged 'athletes'
Today, our country has provided more and more youth with disabilities opportunities to be part of recreation and competitive sport. Now, more than ever, laws and opportunities are in place to continue to make this a growing reality.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I have been reflecting on what the ADA has meant to me. I acknowledge that we still have work to do in order to have complete equal rights for people with disabilities but, looking back, it becomes more apparent how far we have come.
Born without a right hand and forearm, Natalia Partyka won the Paralympic championship in 2004. Paola Fantato has been a wheelchair user since the age of eight, yet she was the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and the Paralympics in 1996. Silver-medal-winner Terence Parkin has been deaf since birth, but that didn’t stop him from winning medals in swimming competitions. There are many athletes with disabilities who inspire us with their competitive spirit. Whether it’s winning races, grappling on the wrestling mat, or riding the ocean waves, athletes with disabilities stand as the epitome of strength and success.
In 2008, I achieved my greatest athletic goal. I became a Paralympian. Shortly after I joined Team USA, I like most elite athletes, attended a media training session. I nervously sat in a beige hotel conference room, staring at the abstractly-designed carpet beneath my feet. 20 Paralympians surrounded me, representing almost every Paralympic sport. Gold medalists, world-record holders, the poster-children of the Games – we breathed the same air. Suddenly, the leader of the session walked in and began to speak.
“You have to watch this video.”
I heard that half a dozen times this week, and I said it half a dozen other times to other people. I posted it on my social media sites. It made me want to buy shoes. It made me want to buy Nike shoes … forever.
As a person with a physical disability I am, at times, approached by people and told that I am a very courageous person. Now, we can talk for hours on what this really means. We can talk and try to understand what the person was really trying to say. Recently, ESPN made an effort to define what courage means to them with an award. Not just any award but the one named after Arthur Ashe.
On April 17-18, we hosted an event at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, that we call Ability Olympics with the mission of showing how everyone can be an athlete. I work with Dr. Tom Moran on this event (he does weekly programming for youth with disabilities to stay physically active), and our goal has been simple: provide sport opportunities to people with disabilities because we did not have those opportunities growing up.