Adaptive Skating USA, a NJ nonprofit organization, announced a new adaptive ice skating program which is free and open to service-disabled Veterans/disabled service members of differing abilities. The program is hosted at New York City Central Park’s famed Wollman Rink and is made possible through the generosity of the Wollman Rink Skating School. Participants may be taking to the ice for the first time, or returning after illness or injury. Ice skates, helmets, and any appropriate adaptive equipment will be provided. The seasonal ice skating program will run from November 2019 through February 2020. Sessions will be held once per week, and each session will last 50 minutes.
US Figure Skating-certified volunteer coaches will provide each participant with one-on-one instruction. Coaches will lead their skaters through US Figure Skating’s Therapeutic Skating Curriculum at each skater’s individual pace – based upon ability. The curriculum is designed to help physically challenged skaters develop skills and enhance their skating experience. It encourages skaters to continue in the sport of skating for physical recreation and activity while taking limitations into consideration.
All participants will be enrolled as US Figure Skating Learn to Skate USA members. Once registered, skaters will receive a welcome email, a welcome packet with their member number, skater record book, a copy of Learn to Skate USA The Magazine, sports accident insurance, and information about ice skating.
Adaptive Skating USA has been a labor of love for Sherri Putnam, a service-disabled Veteran who wanted to combine her passion for ice skating with her desire to honor Veterans and service members who have given so much to their country. Young men and women are typically in excellent health when they join the military. They must pass rigorous training and examinations to be prepared for the demands of service. Yet Veterans often come home in an entirely different state – they must fight to regain their health, manage a disorder or disability, and restore relationships with loved ones.
Adaptive Skating USA’s aim is to empower these individuals to win this battle through the exhilarating and wellness-promoting activity of ice skating. In addition to Adaptive Skating USA’s sponsorship covering participation costs within the context of a community-based, socially-inclusive program, ice skating has many physical, mental, and social benefits. Participation in ice skating has been found to contribute to better breathing, improved circulation and balance, better posture and overall strength. Skating is an excellent form of aerobic exercise that requires strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance. Skating builds discipline, self-esteem, confidence, and independence. The exhilaration of being on the ice boosts mood, while providing the opportunity to make new friends, and to identify with a group who shares a common interest. The skills that are learned on the ice can also transcend into other areas of life thus improving quality of life. In ice skating, just as in life, skaters with disabilities learn to fall, never give up, and get back up to accomplish their dreams.
Sherri Putnam began skating 5 years ago, per doctor’s orders, as a form of low-impact physical therapy. In addition to running Adaptive Skating USA, she works as an independent IT consultant specializing in Business Intelligence.