Jonathan Greeson has a passion for hockey, but for a long time, never thought he would be able to play. Spinal Muscular Atrophy restricted him to a wheelchair from infancy, but Greeson didn’t let his disability stop him from pursuing his dreams.
After graduating from the NC State University College of Management, he was awarded an internship with the Carolina Hurricanes. Greeson took what he learned from interning with an NHL team, and in 2007 founded the NCEWHA (NC Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association). His determination has had lasting effects by creating a way for other disabled athletes who love hockey to play.
Ice hockey leagues are also joining the effort to develop hockey programs inclusive of those with disabilities. The Triangle Special Hockey Association was founded in 2007 as a fully volunteer operated and donor funded place specializing in connecting those with and without disabilities. Currently, there are more than forty kids in the program who benefit at low or no cost. Their goal is to form special hockey programs in the Raleigh area and they hope that these programs will motivate, educate and encourage people with physical or developmental disabilities to enjoy sports.
With the help of sponsors like the Skater Program, athletes will get all of the equipment they need without cost to the family. New equipment is given out every year and the used equipment is utilized by rookie players, until they get a sponsor.
New inventions in sports technology are also making headlines. When Nick Morris was injured at age sixteen, he credited sports as the key to his rehab. With the help of co-inventor David Goding, he designed an improved wheelchair wheel that enables wheelchair athletes and others to move around much easier and faster.
For those who prefer movement and expression through dance, the Wheelchair Dancers Organization is a wonderful outlet. Aficionados of the rumba, cha-cha, swing, salsa and fox trot, as well as other ballroom and swing dances, join alongside able-bodied partners in this fun-loving group that is open to anyone, regardless of experience. Manual and power chairs make it possible for dance to feed the body, mind and soul of those who are physically challenged.
Our goal at Van Products is to use innovative transportation to make the world more accessible to people in wheelchairs, so we are excited to see people using their skills to do the same, whether through technology or athletics. Check back here for updates in the wheelchair community – we’d love to connect you however we can!
What organizations are you involved with? What do you want to see on our blog? It is here for you, so let us know!