By Tom Jordan
BRIGHTON (WWJ) – It’s almost ski season, believe it or not, and a group of outdoor enthusiasts believes outdoor recreation should be available to everyone, regardless of ability.
“We work with people with cognitive disabilities, as well as physical disabilities (like) spinal cord injuries, Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy,” said Jim Munson, the co-founder of Mt. Brighton Adaptive Sports Program.
Munson says the program assists people with disabilities, regardless of age, to take part in the outdoor recreation he’s enjoyed as a paraplegic for decades.
“What Mt. Brighton Adaptive Sports program is looking at is any kind of lifetime activities that you can do, but need some adaptations to pursue those activities,” Munson says, as he demonstrates one of those adaptive devices called a bi-ski, used for higher levels of disabilities such as quadriplegia.
Mt. Brighton Adaptive Sports Program provides scholarships, lessons and, through donations, purchases special adaptive equipment. The goal is simple: to extend the thrill of skiing and snowboarding to guests of all ages and abilities.
“The first time was really emotional for me,” says Mary Roberts, watching her son Adam learn to ski through the program. Adam suffers from a cognitive disability.
“Adam saw skiing and snowboarding on TV and he’d say, ‘I want to try that,'” she said. “He wasn’t anxious, he didn’t fall. I was very proud.”
All this is accomplished with a large variety of adaptive equipment to assess individual needs prior to arrival and to ensure that the appropriate equipment is available. Specially trained professional instructors also tailor each lesson to the needs of the participant for a safe, yet unforgettable experience.
You can learn more about adaptive sports at the Mt. Brighton Adaptive Sports Annual Comedy Show Fundraiser. It takes place Friday, October 13th at Captain Joe’s in Whitmore Lake. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 a piece, or two for $35. Sign up at mtbadaptivesports.org.