Meet: Dr. Christopher Najarian
Dr. Christopher Najarian, a pediatric doctor at Akron Children’s Hospital “stopped by” Parenting Special Needs Live earlier this month to share his story and how adaptive sports programs impacted his life.
As someone who has cerebral palsy, Dr. N is always encouraging his kids to push past their physical limitations. Growing up in Michigan, his family regularly enjoyed skiing so his parents were always coming up with ways he could join in and enjoy the slopes with his 4 siblings. A wonderful organization, the National Sports Center for the Disabled introduced him to a fantastic skiing program in Colorado so every year they would take a ski trip there so that he could take advantage of a modified way to ski, sitting down and with special equipment. Having the ability to go fast down the hill and feel that breeze in his hair – and do this on his own with limited assistance, was the most incredible feeling that he kept going back for many years.
During his residency training in Ohio he found out about 3 Trackers. Realizing what he could do as a physician to get patients out there to participate and to play, he partnered with them to provide organized ski days for his patients. It’s been such a success and patients have such a blast that it has continued for over 8 years now. Dr. N says they are able to accommodate kids and adults with a wide range of physical and intellectual disabilities with a variety of equipment that suit individual capabilities and different varieties of sit skiing and sit skis to upright skiing with assisted devices. Their volunteers are wonderful and trained to work with people with disabilities.
Dr. N recommends that in your search for an adaptive sports program:
- Ask your child’s doctor – they may have a wealth of knowledge, resources and established relationships that can steer you in the right direction.
- Do Not Worry – and don’t let your child be afraid of trying something new. Know that these programs are catered to your child and their volunteers are there because they too want the best for your child!
Related: Sports Adapted to Your Child’s Abilities