Thursday, February 04, 2010

Johnstown Sitting Bulls

On Saturday afternoon I had an opportunity to join members of the Saint Francis University School of Health Sciences at the Planet Ice public skating facility located in Richland Township, Cambria County, PA to attend Sled Hockey Practice with the Johnstown Sitting Bulls. The Sitting Bulls is a sled Hockey Team for school-age athletes with disabilities. In addition to trying out the sleds, the OT Students and faculty from the School of Health Sciences engaged in some problem-solving scenarios with the athletes such as positioning and making recommendations for use of proper body mechanics. This visit was made possible by a Lee Initiatives Grant which was received by the University in 2009.

Planet Ice entrance, Richland Township.

Gearing up.

Making sure everything is tight and secure.

And then out onto the ice.

Doing warm-ups.

Jon Kish talks with a sledder about his positioning on the sled.

All athletes, no matter what the sport, have to loosen up before the game begins.

One of the hockey players gets a little extra help stretching those muscles.

Another warming up exercise, this time with the hockey stick behind the back.

Playing "follow the leader" during warm-up laps.

Dr. Pat Fitzgerald, in the blue jacket, and Dr. Don Walkovich, kneeling beside the sled, discuss the positioning of the players on the sleds.

Tim Golden (orthotist) checks out the leg position and angle of the knee bend before a skater heads out onto the ice.

And away we go...

Megan Ott, the littlest player on the team, comes flying towards me.

Allison Theobold gets positioned on a sled.

Allison tries to find her center.

It didn't take long for these two young ladies to become fast friends as they talked about their experiences on the sleds.

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, Interim Dean School of Health Sciences and Executive Director of the DiSepio Institute, takes a position of leading by example, as she takes a turn on a hockey sled.

Jon Kish straps in Dr. Don Walkovich, Associate Dean, School of Health Sciences, Department Chair, Occupational Therapy as he gets his turn on a sled.

I went to a fight and an actual hockey game broke out. Go figure!

Position is everything.

The two hockey sticks not only provide the locomotion for the sleds but as most of the athletes tend to be ambidextrous they are able to shoot from either side without turning.

Setting up for a pass.

Three of the hockey players converge on the puck trying to gain the upper hand.

This head-on shot gives you some idea of how narrow the hockey sleds actually are.

Digging the puck out of the corner.

After all is said and done, sportsmanship is everything.

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