NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Young patients at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery are used to seeing their doctors in scrubs, but never in skis.
A recent trip Upstate has changed that, and took their latest therapy session to the slopes.
The fun starts the moment the kids gear up. The second they put their skis on and begin their adventure, they’re proving to everyone they’re just like any other kid.
Eight kids and teens from the Tri-State Area, along with their parents and doctors, made the almost three-hour trip to Windham Mountain Resort to take part in the therapy with the Adaptive Sports Foundation — it’s all paid for by the hospital.
“For children who had serious illnesses or physical injuries, for them to see the staff here is really a great experience for them to sort of bond in a different way out of the hospital,” Adaptive Sports Program Director Pam Greene said.
Most of the patients have cerebral palsy and have been patients at the Manhattan hospital. Queens teen Niayrah Smith was a bit reluctant at first.
“Technically my mother signed me up, so I’m going to have to thank her for that,” the Rockaway resident told CBS2.
She’s a patient at the hospital because she suffered a major stroke at birth. Now 14-years-old, she was told she’d probably never walk. With the help of doctors and her mother, they proved that theory wrong.
Now, she’s hitting the slopes with the best of them.
“I like to push her to know that if anything were to happen to me, you would be able to do everything by yourself,” Niayrah’s mother Angel Redmond said.
Every instructor caters their lessons to each particular child’s needs depending on their ability and experience. They also use different tools to help them get down either a mountain for beginners or the training hill.
“A lot of the skills we teach them in the rehab setting we can translate onto the slopes,” occupational therapist Lorene Janowski said. “Weight shifting, being comfortable with your body, being able to problem solve and plan how to get down the mountain.”
Judging by the smiles and excitement, the kids are more than up for the challenge. During the summer, the hospital sends the kids surfing on Long Island.