Living with a disability is no easy feat, as many people in New York know. Not only is it often physically challenging, but many people find it emotionally challenging as well. That’s how one New York man, who is now the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities felt when a mountain biking accident left him paralyzed below the chest. He found life again, however, through sled hockey.
Now, the commissioner is coaching a young team of disabled athletes, hoping to show them that a disability doesn’t mean they can’t play sports. The team plays at Lasker Rink in Central Park every other Saturday. There are 18 players between the ages of 5 and 18 on the co-ed team – all with disabilities that affect their lower-body mobility. The team is sponsored by the New York Rangers as well as the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Wheelchair Sports Federation. Their support has helped the team secure ice time and equipment.
The coach says he teaches his players to play hard despite the challenges they face. He hopes that being able to come together to play a sport will help them look past their disability while also feeling comfort in the fact that there are other kids in New York like them.
Living with a disability that affects a person’s mobility is no easy feat. Fortunately, however, there are people like this coach in our community who help empower those who face challenges to look beyond their disabilities and excel, whether it’s in sports, at school, parenting or simply making it through in a world built for people who don’t have disabilities.
Source: The New York Times, “For Young Disabled Athletes, a Chance to Glide, and Compete, on the Ice,” Corey Kilgannon, Dec. 18, 2012