Eastern Kentucky University Campus Recreation has launched an adaptive climbing program to assist students with disabilities.
Dr. Louisa Summers, professor of exercise and sport science, and Tommy Willis, director of outdoor recreation, are collaborating to offer two sessions each month this fall semester.
According to Summers, the new program is a dream dating back to October, 2013, when paraplegic adventure athlete Mark Wellman came to campus to present a Chautauqua lecture that also served as the keynote address for EKU's observance of Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Month.
Summers devoted a 2015 sabbatical to helping Wounded Warriors at four camps in Birmingham, Alabama, and is always looking for opportunities to assist local veterans with disabilities.
Wellman brought his adaptive climbing equipment to the lecture, and Army veteran Drew Adamson, who suffered an anoxic brain injury in 2008, was able to climb with Wellman’s assistance. Wellman’s company, No Limits, designs and builds adaptive equipment for climbing, as well as water skiing, and winter sled sports. EKU campus recreation invested in the equipment for students, and this year Willis has worked with his student staff, Dave Preston and others to train them on how to seat and strap in climbers, as well as assist in lowering them.
The adaptive climbing program can serve any students with any impairment that prevents them from climbing the wall. The program will be held Tuesdays, 1:30-2:30 p.m., on the following dates: Sept. 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 25, Nov 8, Nov. 22 and Dec. 13.