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Local students introduced to 'cool' adaptive sports (4 photos)

'From a diversity and inclusion standpoint it’s important for us to introduce kids to adaptive sports,' says Paralympian at Orillia Rotary Place event

Students from Severn Shores Public School learned a new perspective on Friday by playing sledge hockey and wheelchair basketball.

Students from two Grade 6 classes at Severn Shores participated in the clinic hosted by All Sports All People at Rotary Place in west Orillia.

The clinic was led by Tyler McGregor — who won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics as the team captain for the Canadian sledge hockey team — and Brad Bowden who is a former Olympic gold medallist in sledge hockey and wheelchair basketball.

“From a diversity and inclusion standpoint, it’s important for us to introduce kids to adaptive sports,” McGregor said. “We are excited that we are able to do this both with sledge hockey and wheelchair basketball.”

McGregor says the clinic introduces students to a whole new perspective.

“For many of them I think it introduces them to a levelled playing field in many respects,” McGregor said. “There are a lot of people across the country who live with disabilities, and this is their only opportunity to play hockey and basketball — the sports that we all love.”

Student Ben Eade says the clinic was a “really cool” experience because it allows for all students to be included despite how difficult the sports are to play.

“Sledge hockey is an extremely challenging sport,” he said. “Some of us can’t even get up in the sled. It’s an interesting concept.”

Eade says meeting McGregor and Bowden is a highlight of his school year.

“A lot of people don’t get to where they are with sports, and they are really nice people, too," he told OrilliaMatters.

Chiara Cropper says the clinic was a fun experience for her and her classmates.

“I like that everybody is included in it,” she said. “We had a lot of fun just playing around.”

Cropper says McGregor and Bowden are inspiring.

“They are very nice,” she said. “It’s very special for my class to have the opportunity to come and meet them.”