May 2019: Adaptive Sports Makes a Positive Impact on Samantha

tags: Physically Challenged Sports & Recreation Program

Dr. Jacqueline Stone: Today I’m joined by Gerry Herman, Co-director of the Bennett Institute Physically Challenged Sports Program and the Bennett Blazers at Kennedy Krieger Institute

A photograph of a wheelchair with a basketball laying in the seat

Jerry Herman: Today I am here to talk about Samantha, a 17 year old with spastic diplegia who has been in our program since she was 6 years old. The Bennett Blazers of Kennedy Krieger’s sports program is a full time sports program and we provide opportunities for children ages 2 to 18 to participate in sports. The basis of our program, the initial portion of our program, is called Motor Development which gets kids involved as early as age 2. Samantha came to the program as the only student in our school system with a physical disability and she developed a moniker of “the girl on pink crutches.” As Samantha worked through our program she developed into a leader. Currently she’s on our wheelchair basketball team, she’s our goalie. She is in our sled hockey team and she is catcher in our wheelchair softball team. Through our program and in a link with another program, Stay Focused, Samantha has also become a certified scuba diver.

All of these activities have transformed Samantha from a shy individual looking for a reason, to somebody that is confident and is assured that she is going to be successful in life. Samantha has currently received a wheelchair basketball scholarship to play at the University of Arizona. We feel that the involvement in our program provided us all with a foundation for Samantha to achieve success.

Samantha inspires me every day in terms of her ability to keep focused and her determination and drive to be successful at everything she attempts. I’m sure that as she proceeds in life that Samantha is going to be a very successful person and receive everything she wants.

Dr. Jacqueline Stone: Inspiring Moments is produced for WYPR by Kennedy Krieger Institute. I am Dr. Jacqueline Stone.