WINDHAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A group of doctors and professionals are helping kids from our area see there’s no mountain too high to take on.
From the second their equipment is sized at the lodge, to the slopes some thought they could never ski, a group of kids and teens with disabilities are supported physically and mentally as they go on an electrifying experience at Windham Mountain with the talented doctors who are helping transform their lives.
“I feel extraordinary,” said 18-year-old Charles Seabrooks of Baychester. He was born with cognitive delays and scoliosis. The Bronx teen had to wear a back brace for a few years. Doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery have been working with him to improve mobility.
“I see so much improvement, and this is very therapeutic for him, and so I am really amazed. I am, like, wow, he can actually do this now,” said Charles’ mom Gloria Rios.
Partnering with the Adaptive Sports Foundation, the hospital is able to offer skiing as a real-life physical therapy experience.
“It’s sort of cool to see what they are taking, what they learned in a controlled environment, and experience it in an uncontrolled environment and have fun with it,” said physical therapist Jennifer Jezequel.
“Being up and active and using their muscles helps them build their core strength, which is good for all of them, no matter what their condition is,” said Dr. David Scher, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Instructors use special tools to help and each person is highly trained.
“Safety is our most paramount aspect, ensuring that the participant, the students are able to enjoy their time on the snow,” said Raymond Curtis of the Adaptive Sports Foundation at Windham Mountain.
Cerebral palsy didn’t stop Connor Coppeto from zooming down the mountain. To help, the 12-year-old from the Upper East Side was strapped into a special “sit ski.”
“Initially, when you get the news of a child having cerebral palsy, you don’t think they would be able to do anything. But then you see progress,” said John Coppeto.
Just seven months ago, Connor underwent extensive surgery. Doctors rebuilt his legs from his knees to his feet.
“His knee and foot alignment is back to where yours and [mine are], back to where it should be. And it’s an amazing when they did that,” said Cohn Coppeto.
Amazing too that he’s already on a mountain, all these kids proving opportunities are truly limitless, no matter what your ability.