Altitude Physical Therapy April 2018

CALDWELL 1906 Fairview Ave, Ste 410 Caldwell, ID 83605 (208) 454-9839 Nampa, ID 83686 (208) 465-9418 THE ASCENT NAMPA - MIDLAND 130 S Midland Blvd Nampa, ID 83686 (208) 461-5057 NAMPA - SOUTHSIDE 3151 E Greenhurst Rd



About two months before I finished my physical therapy internship, my son, Josh, was born. It was an incredible moment, made all the more touching because Josh was born with congenital fibular hemimelia. This condition affects the development of the lower leg bones, and it meant Josh had his first surgery when he was 8 months old. Thanks to some amazing community support and his determined spirit, Josh has thrived. He got connected with Shriners, which has been an incredible source of support throughout his life.

Josh got his first set of legs for his first birthday. At 19 months, he was walking around, just like most kids at that age. He’s a stud. Josh’s birth was also confirmation that I’d chosen the right profession. Physical therapy has been a huge help for Josh. It’s encouraged him to stay active and led him to some incredible opportunities. He’s now a senior in high school, and Josh’s No. 1 passion is skiing. When he was 13, Josh got involved with Recreation Unlimited, a program at Bogus that teaches adaptive skiing. He was fitted with a bi ski, which has a seat and two outrigger poles so he can steer. For the first couple of years, he was tethered to two other people on each side of his ski, and they would go down the hill with him. From the beginning, he was eager to go down by himself — like a lot of teenagers, he’s an adrenaline junkie. After a couple of years, Josh could go down the hill on his own. He has improved so much over the last year, and it’s amazing to watch him carve turns and do jumps. Along with Recreation Unlimited, Josh has found opportunities through the National Ability Center and participated in ski and sled hockey camps in Park City, Utah. One day several months ago, we got a letter from the National Ability Center. They had a cultural exchange program in which youths from the U.S. would have the opportunity to go to Korea and teach youths with similar disabilities how to ski. The event was connected to the Paralympics. Of course, Josh jumped at the opportunity. Last month, along with 12 other youths and chaperones from the U.S., he got to share his skill with kids in PyeongChang, South Korea. In

addition to teaching others, they got to watch some of the inspiring athletes compete in the Paralympics. Talk about a cool senior trip, right?

Fireworks light up the sky and the Olympic torch at the opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Paralympics

Josh Weatherston (front) enjoying some time on the Olympic half-pipe with his US and Korean friends

He’s got red hair like Shaun White, but Josh needs more practice on his half-pipe skills!

Josh has aspirations to one day compete in skiing and is constantly working to get better. Last year, he applied for a grant through the Challenged Athlete Foundation and got his own custom ski. He heads to the slopes whenever he can. Josh reminds me that what can seem like the biggest hurdle is often an opportunity in disguise. It’s all about how we approach it. For Josh, that means taking it ski-first.

Josh riding up the lift in his sit ski with an instructor in PyeongChang, South Korea

–Sean Weatherston

1 (208) 454-9839

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