The Joys and Challenges of Adaptive Sports

For most of us, riding a bike, paddling a kayak, or hiking a trail is something we take for granted. But for those with physical or cognitive limitations, engaging in sports can be a challenge. One solution is adaptive sports. On The Point, we talk with sight impaired individuals who have accomplished incredible feats in sailing and hiking, and a new adaptive sports program at Nickerson Sate Park in Brewster.

It’s called The McGraw Center, and it’s a collaboration between Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and offers options for kayaking, cycling and hiking. Guests for this portion of the program are Steve Katzenback, Physical Therapist, Spaulding Adaptive Sports Coordinator for Cape Cod who oversees the McGraw Center for Adaptive Sports; and Jane Barber, a volunteer with the Adaptive Sports Program, and teacher of Adaptive Yoga. Later in the hour we talk with Amy Bower, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and part of the World Blind Fleet Sailing Championship team in 2015; and David Fisichella, who manages shipboard scientific operations at WHOI and is trained to guide sight impaired cross country skiers and sailors.

In the final segment of the program, we talk with a visually impaired man and his sighted uncle who recently summited Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tim Connors is a recent graduate of Ithaca College and is visually impaired. Dr. Robert McGowen is a Falmouth doctor who made the journey along with Tim. Here’s a link to Community Boating, Inc., whose mission is to enable “Sailing for All.”  It offers sailing and other water sports to people of all ages, abilities, and means in the greater Boston area.