helen2In spite of significant damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy, the Nyack Boat Club and Helen Hayes Hospital recently joined forces to host their eighth annual Adapted Sailing program. The Nyack Boat Club reportedly worked to get all of the ramps and docks ready for the group of 32 sailors. The program draws individuals with disabilities from the New York metropolitan region for a comprehensive educational workshop and a day sailing on the Hudson River.

Jan Crittenden, Nyack Boat Club member, and event co-coordinator, explains that members of the Club’s Sonar Fleet volunteer their time, boats, and expertise for the day to introduce sailing to individuals who may not have thought it was possible to sail. Crittenden notes that the Sonars are “ideally designed for someone who may have a physical limitation.”

Helen Hayes reports that the Adapted Sailing program is part of its Adapted Sports and Recreation program, which it adds recently became certified as a US Paralympic Sports Club. The hospital’s therapists also volunteer to assist in transferring participants into boats, to help with any necessary assistive devices, and to ensure a safe and fun experience for participants.

Matt Castelluccio, Helen Hayes Hospital Adapted Sports Coordinator, adds that the hospital pre-screens the event attendees for adaptive equipment, provides an introductory skills workshop, and gets everyone involved in a post roundtable discussion to talk about the experience.

helen3A news release from the hospital reports that event attendees included individuals who had sustained spinal cord injuries (SCIs), brain injuries, stroke, as well as those recuperating from orthopedic surgery or living with other neurological disorders.One of the participants designates the event as the, “first time in a long time I didn’t think of my legs or my body at all. I was out sailing with a great crew.” In the release, Helen Hayes and the Nyack Boat Club articulate their excitement in hosting the Adapted Sailing program once again next May.

Source: Helen Hayes Hospital