Handicapped Man Uses Dog To Skate

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Every Tuesday, the Glacier Ice Arena hosts a special senior skating session, giving older Grand Valley residents a chance to have some fun. The program has caught the attention of a very unique skater.

Hat -- check. Skate -- check. Four-legged companion --check. That's the list that John Wright goes through every time he gets ready to skate. Wright suffers from a physical condition called post concussive syndrome.

"It causes problems with balance, vicious headaches, dizziness, and stuff like that," said Wright.

As a result, he has to skate with the help of his specially trained dog Roger. The two come to the ice arena at least once a week, and Wright says there's no place he feels more at home than on the ice.

"I'm more mobile on the ice than I'll ever be walking on land," said Wright.

He says he's not the only one who appreciates the freedom of the ice.

"Roger loves it out here," said Wright. "This is his main chance to get exercise because otherwise he's walking slowly along beside me all the time."

Wright says skating is the highlight of his week, and even though he has to do it a little differently than most people, it's better than not skating at all.

"If you sit around you just gain weight and get more health problems," said Wright.

Wright says he doesn't let his condition get him down and hopes others with disabilities do the same. He adds that at the end of the day, he'd rather have fun than dwell on the bad times.

The Glacier Ice Arena encourages all people over the age of 40 to come to the special Tuesday sessions. They run from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

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