Executive Director Notes


Winter 2013

Friday, December 06, 2013

I want an announcer to tell me when events are momentous or important in my life. That is, someone to sit on my shoulder who can pinch me or set off fireworks when a big event is occurring.

I'd like a reminder that this could be the best day of my life regardless of where I am or who is with me. Too often we aren't alert or "present" enough to appreciate the stirring and miraculous moments that sneak up on us without fanfare. 

The AccesSportAmerica community of athletes, trainers, families and friends, witnesses and celebrates incredible moments. While the world might move around and past us, we can feel that we are in the center of the universe in front of the most rare and profound accomplishments. This past summer and this past year for that matter, that 'announcer on my shoulder' has alerted me to some amazing advances in our work and play. So many in fact that even I thought we had reason to pause and celebrate rather than my usual, "We need to push further and harder". We've truly arrived with some of our techniques and our athlete's feats. A few examples: 

We offer some of the best - if not the best - adaptive windsurf lessons in the world. Our arsenal of techniques and equipment is impressive and ever growing. Over the past year, we developed a method by which a trainer can shadow and hold sails for seated and standing windsurfers from another stand up surfboard. This enabled dozens of athletes to windsurf completely on their own this summer with minimal cueing. 

Our new stand up paddling "rack" has revolutionized the methods by which we teach standing and seated athletes to paddle on surfboards. We were the first on the Charles River to paddle on stand up surfboards years ago, and have subsequently developed effective stabilizing techniques including crossing trainer's boards over the students boards. But our rack ties two boards together for side by side paddling and teaching. 

The gait trainer, which we have designed, is being fabricated. With our device, we will make available an affordable system to use daily so individuals can truly train or retrain themselves to walk. Our device will help an athlete to walk long enough on a treadmill with proper form and habits that will truly last. We've been working on this concept for several years. 

Our Function & Fitness In-School Program is expanding to two new Boston Public Schools so that more students living with disabilities are better-conditioned and higher-functioning. We've engaged outside professional counsel to first formally evaluate the outcomes of our program and then to collaborate with our team to develop the curriculum so that other schools and school systems can adopt our methodology and philosophy. 

We are excited about these developments and so many more, and, as always, about those persistent, determined individuals who have become great tennis players or runners or windsurfers, often years and years after stroke, injury or a lifetime without true athletic challenge. 

You are a friend to this wonderful, vibrant, dynamic community that is AccesSportAmerica. We are a people of innovation and inspiration. We are also the "announcers" and witnesses who remind us all that miraculous changes can come to all of our lives, especially those living with significant challenges. 


Ross Lilley
President/Executive Director