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Adaptive Ski Program Strengthens Rehab Patients

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WESTON, Mo. -- Any uphill battle has to include a climb.

Snow Creek Ski Resort is known for thrills on their hills. Adaptive skiing makes it possible for rehab patients to experience the same energy. The Rehab Institute of Kansas City works with instructors at this resort to help traumatic injury patients get back in the game, using skis to help speed their recovery.

"We basically go alongside them and teach balance techniques," Corey Wright, recreational therapist, said. "We focus on the affected limb as much as possible so it's as therapeutic as possible."

Wright has worked with therapy patients in the snow for the past four years. He sees patients with medical needs of all kinds, ranging from stroke and traumatic brain injury to spinal cord damage.

Experience in the snow isn't required. However, 16-year old Jamie Reaves was an avid skier before suffering a stroke three years ago.

"It allows me to go fast down hills again," Reaves said. "Doing it as a kid was always fun. Now, coming back to it is even better."

But Ben Avery is only here for the fun. His first ride down the slope could help with rehab work, which he's been doing since his car crash eight years ago.

"It's so amazingly exciting!" exclaimed Avery. "I get to try a new thing!"

Snow sports are not necessarily part of a rehab program, but confidence-building certainly is. Corey Wright says its not important for these skiers to look as if they're ready for an olympic team. However, it is important for them to know there's no mountain they can't climb.

"It shows them that after whatever injury that's occurred, life isn't over," Wright said. "They can exist in any aspect of society just like anyone else."

And knowing that makes the climb seem like fun.

Rehab Institute of Kansas City can be found here.

Snow Creek Ski Resort is in Platte County near Weston, Mo. Here's a link to their website. Contact Tom Sanders at Snow Creek for more information about the Adaptive Ski Program.

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