USA Rio Paralympic Kayaker / future OT

This is the most excited I’ve been about a post that’s not about one of our fantastic kayaking trips!

I found this inspirational woman, Ann Yoshida, who has a spinal cord injury and had a traumatic brain injury from a car crash but not only got back onto the water but became an Olympian and is in Rio right now!

She’s also doing something else I (biasedly) think is awesome and that’s becoming an occupational therapist! She’s in OT school, working on her doctorate, according to this article (which also features other paralympian OTs).

No, that’s not to get people back to work (though some work in that area) but to get people back to life! (what people do to OCCUPY their time). I’m an OT and love helping people get back to life. Yes survival is important but once you’ve achieved that then there’s doing things you need to do (like getting dressed when your legs and trunk aren’t working) and want to do (like kayaking!).

According the Paralympic website on her profile she’s racing in the Canoe Sprint Women’s KL1.

According to Wikipedia this means:

“The KL1 Class is for paracanaoe paddlers who have very limited or no trunk function and no leg function. A KL1 class paddler is able to apply force predominantly using the arms and/or shoulders. These athletes will likely also have poor sitting balance and typically need a seat with a high backrest. Eligible paddlers typically meet one of the following:

  • Impaired range of motion
  • Loss of muscle strength equivalent to spinal cord injury complete at T12 level.”

As someone whose tried paddling similar skinny kayaks…they are tippy! Forget secondary stability, there’s no primary stability!  They’re the only kayaks I’ve flipped accidentally. How difficult would it be to keep balance without using your legs and trunk to compensate? Then to become speedy enough to be one of the world’s fastest?

I’m hoping, despite not having cable, I’ll be able to catch her race. Heats and the Semi Final are on the 14th then the final is on the 15th.

 

 

 

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