First-ever Adaptive Sledding Hockey Clinic launches for disabled athletes

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- There is nothing like playing a winter sport indoors on a hot day, but on Saturday, local athletes with mobility disabilities showed the Charlottesville community they can play tough on the ice as well.

Jamon Freeman was one of 20 athletes with a mobility disability, playing in Charlottesville's first-ever Adaptive Sledding Hockey Clinic.

"For the people in wheelchairs like us, we can do anything," said Freeman. "We can't walk but it's okay, so we're dominating this sport."

The clinic was put on by the Charlottesville nonprofit Therapeutic Adventures and it was free to any and all players with mobility issues.

"It's something we've dreamed about for a long time, we've been working for about six months with USA Disabled Hockey to put this event together," said Mark Andrews, founder of Therapeutic Adventures. "We have folks with Spina Bifida, Multiple Sclerosis and a wide variety of disabilities."

The clinic paired disabled athletes with other hockey players and Special Olympians like Laurie Wood.

"If I didn't find hockey, I'm not sure I would have gotten my butt off the couch," said Wood. "I really felt like my life was over."

After falling off a building and breaking her back, Wood says adaptive sports saved her life and it can save many more.

"They're feeling the wind go past their cheeks," said Wood. "You can see this huge smile come across their faces."

The clinic may have also created new Olympians as well.

"One day I want to play on the Paralympics Team," said athlete Jim New.

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