No longer do people with disabilities have to sit on the shore and watch others enjoy water sports. About a dozen disabled Davenport-area residents have registered for a class Sunday labeled as an adaptive waterski clinic. Glen Sancken is director of the Therapeutic Recreation Department at Davenport’s Genesis Medical Center West, which is putting on the clinic. Sancken says the people who’ll be learning to waterski include: three paraplegics, a quadriplegic, a man who’s legally blind, a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy and a man with one leg. Sancken himself uses a wheelchair as he’s been a paraplegic for 16 years. He experienced water skiing a few years ago, found it very liberating and wants to share that feeling with others. Sancken says it takes special equipment. The wide waterski has a seat bolted onto it and there are various seats for people of different sizes. Other skiiers will be able to use traditional waterskis, like the single-leg amputee. Sancken says it will be an unusual challenge to teach the blind man to waterski. The man’s skied before but has a hard time following right behind the boat in its wake. Sancken says they’ve marshalled a small flotilla of boats and jetskis for the clinic, running from 8:30 AM to 4 PM on Sunday at the Backwater Gamblers ski dock in Rock Island.
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