GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Instead of a “disability,” some West Michigan children in wheelchairs are learning to think of their handicap as a "different ability."
They are participating in this year's Wheelchair Sports Camp at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Trainers, who are also in wheelchairs, show and teach children with physical limitations they can play all kinds of sports and feel the same competitive excitement that able bodied children feel.
“What they are learning is they too can play sports like their able bodied family and friends,” explains Maria Besta, Mary Free Bed manager of wheelchair and adaptive sports.
“I grew up as a kid where I thought my disability was going to limit me to what I can and can’t do,” recalls camp trainer Brad Dion.
“This camp has taught me that, even though I’m in a wheel chair, it doesn’t matter. I now compete.”
The 55 or so children between ages seven and 18 pay no tuition for the five day camp.
Those who enjoy the athletic competition can get involved in Mary Free Bed sports programs and play on teams all year.
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