When Janice Gillis got in a car accident four years ago, she found out she wouldn’t walk again.
Today, Janice uses a wheelchair to get around, but she says she wasn’t going to let her injury stop her from trying new things — or re-learning how to do the things she loves.
So, she’s trying wheelchair curling.
“I used to curl in high school, so I was quite an avid curler when I was younger,” Gillis said.
Wheelchair curling is a sport at the Paralympic games, and while some people do play on P.E.I., Gillis hopes more people will get involved.
ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I. hosted a curling training event in partnership with Spinal Injury P.E.I. in Cornwall on Sunday, for Islanders who use wheelchairs and for those who are visually impaired.
Sarah Fullerton is an occupational therapist and curling trainer who was showing participants how to throw their rocks.
She said wheelchair or visually impaired curling is all about adapting the game to needs of each player. She added in some cases, this means putting brightly coloured markers on the target to help people aim or anchoring a wheelchair to the ice so a person can use their upper body strength to throw their rock down the ice.
“We really focus on including people and not focusing on what they can’t do, but rather focusing on what they can do,” Fullerton added.
“I think it would be great to someday be able to get four individuals together for a wheelchair curling team from P.E.I. or a visually impaired curling team,” Fullerton said.