Sports Therapy Spotlight: Adaptive Ice Skating

Adaptive ice skating isn't quite the same as inadvertent ice skating- the former is done with skates on a rink, while the latter is best performed in street shoes on my driveway after checking the mailbox. This is for comedic effect, of course.

'Cause an armful of bills and holiday catalogs strewn around in the snow just feels right somehow. And once I've executed my triple toe loop and verified that there aren't any eyewitnesses, I can get the mail a second time. Beefing it is my primary wintertime exercise in Maine- it's all in the footwork, people.

On to the rink though, because we are THRILLED to announce our next gig. We're funding a winter on ice for a lucky kiddo in Toledo, Ohio with Gliding Stars, a stellar nonprofit organization providing ice skating instruction to kids with disabilities. Gliding Stars was founded in 1994 by accomplished figure skater Elizabeth O'Donnell. (Thanks, interwebs!)

Each season, skaters - also known as stars - train from 12 to 26 weeks before their season culminates in an ice dance performance. I'm assuming there is a fair amount of sequins involved. (Which is the whole reason I wanted to ice skate as a child. Sadly though, I could not pull off the Dorothy Hamill wedge, and my dream of skating with Robbie Benson was Zambone-d. <-- Ice Castles reference, kids.)

Where was I? Ah yes. Adaptive skating uses modified or additional equipment as needed as skaters work towards independence on the ice. To wit:

    • Helmet & gloves
    • Ice skates: single blade, double runners and/or custom fitted
    • Assistants (Not the ones who bring you lattes, because brown ice. I apologize for that visual. These are more like human shields, except that most of them volunteer for duty.)
    • Standing: walker (Just like it sounds, but you can leave your tennis balls at home.), harnesses, hockey sticks
    • Sitting: sled, chair

And the benefits are a-plenty- here's a handy list:

    • Emotional: self-discipline, self-confidence, self-esteem
    • Physical: coordination, balance, strength, impulse control
    • Mental: motor planning, sequencing, concentration
    • Social: cooperation, communication skills, eye contact
    • Sensory: sensory integration, distractibility

So get your skates on! Let's get this short program (program for shorties?) on ice. Meanwhile, I'll be practicing my flying camel spins in the driveway.


PS Roman with his adaptive ice skating assistant, big brother Quinn.

PSS Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Half off all t-shirts through December 16th! Inventory is spotty, so don't put me in the sin bin. Discount code: virginia.

Share this post