Greetings, my name is Eric Berkey, and I’m writing to you about a machine that helped change my life. It’s been nearly five years since a spinal cord injury put me in a wheelchair as a C-5 quadriplegic. Prior to my injury I had been an avid skier, both competitively and professionally. Unable to bear the thought of giving up a lifelong passion, I resolved to get back on skis any way I could.

Anxious that my impaired mobility might severely limit my ability to sit-ski, I was grateful to meet Wes Dearborn, adaptive ski coach extraordinaire and inventor of the Innovative Adaptive Technologies sit-ski simulator. My trepidation was instantly displaced by elation when we strapped me into that bucket seat and I realized that sit-skiing was indeed a possibility. The pre-season opportunity to learn the balance and body mechanics of sit-skiing was not only an invaluable dry-land training tool and confidence builder, it also helped me to find my ‘stoke’ – once again, winter is a season to be looked forward to with giddy anticipation!

Looking back to the difficult and often dark time of recovery and acute rehabilitation, I’m convinced that the early exposure of disability survivors to adaptive recreational opportunities is critical to patients’ mental health. Even at that early stage in my new life as a quad, the sit-skiing simulator would have been the perfect tool to show me what possibilities exist for improving the quality of life for disabled athletes. This technology belongs in every rehab gym out there!



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