Individuals with physical and neurological disabilities enjoyed an opportunity to engage in a wide range of adaptive water sports May 10 to May 12, thanks to the annual Day on the Lake event, hosted by St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Barrow Neurological Institute, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. 

“Barrow believes that everyone has the right to live an active and productive life. This is the one day in Arizona that everyone has access to explore adapted water sports,” Jo Crawford, program coordinator for the Barrow Connection at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, emphasized.

 Each year, the 3-day event aims to provide attendees, who range from aged 5 years to 82 years, an opportunity to experience adapted water sports including water skiing, kayaking, fishing, jet-ski rides, and boat rides. The activities offered during the event are designed to allow attendees to maximize their time in the water while trying out multiple water sports in a safe and encouraging environment, a St. Joseph’s news release reports. 

Attendees who opted to participate in water skiing, which was offered exclusively on the event’s first day, were able to learn from experts, such as paraplegic water ski world champion, Chad Guzman. A five-craft team, including a pull boat, perimeter boat, two jet skis, and a pontoon boat carrying participants and family members assisted skiers. Barrow reports that the event’s two remaining days included all five aquatic activities.

“The mission of Barrow’s Day on the Lake is to remind people with disabilities that they can do anything anyone else can and give them the opportunity to experience that,” Crawford says.

The event was supported by 110 volunteers, a specialized team from California, and St. Joseph’s Barrow Connection. The Barrow Connection provides children and adults with disabilities resulting from brain or spinal cord injuries (SCIs) the opportunity to experience activities that would otherwise be challenging or impossible without adaptive aids. The release also notes that some of volunteers were former patients of Barrow and served as mentors to assist new patients in navigating toward resources for recovery. Attendees were required to be at least one year post-major injury to participate in the event.

Event sponsors included St. Joseph’s Barrow Connection, Bartlett Lake Marina, Hanger Clinic, and Southwest Medical and Rehab.

For more information about Barrow, visit

Source: St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center