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Stroke Victim Challenge

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
At a quiet time during a midweek lull I had a lifty approach me to tell me a man wanted to take one run down the beginner hill. He said he was a bit challenged somehow but didn't really know what that was.
I met the guy and he was a former Patroller from Bridger around 45-50 who has suffered a stroke and lost most control of his left side. I put his gloves on for him and buckled his boots ,clicked him in and up the lift we went. He was shaking uncontrollably .
We got off with some guidance and I pushed him out of the lift area and we stood for a bit while he adjusted to his goal which was to ski a run after his stroke as skiing was something he loved. He had told his Dad he was going to try and he came up alone to try.

So we had a mission.

I moved him across the hill to assess what control he did have with his disabled side. Not much  but he could rotate his left leg some but not use it much for balance which means we could turn to the left but not the right. He couldn't hold a turn on his weak side.

I knew this was probably beyond his means but together we could make something of it. The only way I  thought of to get him down was to bend over and hold his tips while i skied backwards. I do this for adults sometimes when they can't hold a wedge as beginners so I don't have to put a edgie wedgie on them . I don't use those ever for adults. We stopped often and worked our way down waiting out his trembling for a bit to continue.

We got down slowly turning in both directions all the way down and he shook my hand and left satisfied he had met a personal challenge.

I'm not experienced at Adaptive but share the hill with the adaptive folks and share in the joy they spread with their efforts but wonder what I should have or  could have done to help this guy better.

Feedback please . My thoughts is skiing alone wasn't close to possible and we got down but the effort was very tiring and stressful understanding the responsibility  I had undertaken to get this guy down the hill .He was a big guy and a job to keep in control.


post #2 of 3
Welcome to the world of adaptive.

The great thing with this is you have someone that has skied before and you can take advantage of that.  One fellow I know has a similar condition.  The strong right side he skis open stance parallel turns to the left, on the weak left side he skis wedge christi turns to the right.

First it sounds like you had a good outing.  You got him out and down the hill.  Don't be afraid to talk to your adaptive folks.  Also, you might want to steer him to them.  (Go along and assist if you can.  Since you have the personal link with him now, that would be most helpful.)

Since I can't see the student for an assessment this is all off the cuff.  Assessment is everything in adaptive.  What you see can steer you in the direction to take for the use or non-use of certain equipment.  (Like should we use an outrigger on the good side to assist, should we use an edgie wedgie, etc.)

Now some questions to help in the assessment.  How long since the stroke?  Has he been or is he in rehab?  How much progression has he made?  Is he physically active since the stroke?  Does he have a regular fitness routine now?  How weak is the affected side?  (Legs, arms, grip)  Is his vision affected to the weak side?  Are there cognitive issues?  Most adaptive organizations have an assessment form that the individual fills out to help with this.  (Another good reason to see the Adaptive Folks.)

With someone like this you'll need to concentrate on the weak side.  Don't be afraid of using an edgie wedgie or similar device to help keep the ski tip under control.  They are commonly used and can be removed once the skier re-learns how to control the ski.  You are just using it now to make things easier and help foster success.

Get on nice easy terrain and work on wedge turns again.  Focus on the weak side, that is where the individual needs to practice and retrain the neural pathways to work again.  Slow and steady will win.  Your student has made the first big step.  He's shown up and given it a go.  Everything from this point on is easy.
post #3 of 3
Garry, your post prompted me to write down something I've been mulling over in my head for quite a while (one reason, is that one of my colleagues, former skier, suffered a stroke and after recovering tried to ski again but gave up because he felt too a danger to others, what with the weak leg not being able to control the turn) 
Would it be possible to have a "fit" adaptive guy ski one legged, on only one ski, whithout the supporting crutches/poles, à la Bode?
Have any of you ever tried?

As for the feedback you request, I can tell you this :
I wish there were some of you here, if so, my friend would have not given up the sport.

P.S: He's indomitable, he's designed and built a Y bicycle all by himself...he's not a surrender, but has decided that skiing was too much for him...
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