Getting everyone involved was the theme of the day at the 2nd annual Akron Children’s Hospital adaptive sports event, Declare Your Adaptive Independence, held at Chaney High School in Youngstown.
The hospital’s parent advisory council (PAC) and Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio (ASPO), an organization that provides competitive and recreational adaptive sport opportunities throughout Ohio, coordinated the event in conjunction with Dr. Sheryl Handler, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
It featured 2 new programs, wheelchair softball and wheelchair track and field, as well as a cheerleading component that included tumbling drills led by Miss Dana’s Diamonds.
The event attracted more than 50 people, including some families new to ASPO events, and allowed children with physical and intellectual disabilities a chance to participate in sports activities on the same physical level as parents, siblings and friends.
“Wheelchairs are used as equalizers,” said Christa Coleman-Ng, president of the Mahoning Valley PAC. “If a child is in a wheelchair and their parent or sibling is also using a wheelchair to participate in the event, everyone is on the same playing field.”
The event attracted all ages, from tiny babies to grandparents.
“It’s really nice to see families come out and learn activities than can be adaptive to everyone’s needs,” Christa said.
The groups are already planning the next event for the fall.