Ocean First Banks On Bruckner

Ocean First Banks On Bruckner

Ocean First Banks On Bruckner

Courtesy of Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive, Ocean City, New Jersey.

Bruckner Chase runs a program for those with spinal cord injuries and diseases, giving them opportunities to train, race and play in pools and in the ocean as part of the open water community.

I have really felt the loss for our athletes due to all the pool closures,” he said.

But Chase received some unexpectedly good news despite the closures.

The Ocean First Bank Foundation issued a grant to his Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive in order to expand the reach and offerings of the Blue Journey Unified Paddleboard program. New pilot sessions in New Jersey, additional training sessions for the more competition-focused athletes, an Open House event, and the Legion of Ocean Heroes event will be funded. Chase explained, “The Ocean First Bank Foundation is giving us full discretion on timing in light of our current lockdowns, so we can implement when we feel we can keep everyone safe.

We offer a strength-based, empowerment initiative that brings together individuals with and without spinal cord injuries or spinal cord disorders around a shared activity and sport in the natural environment of our oceans and open water
.”

There is a common stigma about the capabilities of those with an spinal cord injury or a spinal cord disorder to safely take part in sports or activities in a natural aquatic environment. Additionally, there are significant barriers to enjoy open water that include the cost of adaptive equipment and a perceived need to provide an extensive volunteer and resource network of safety. But programs like Chase’s program – and others like it from Australia and Brazil – focus on providing ongoing training and competition opportunities.

Chase explains, “The nature of prone paddling requires virtually no adaptation in equipment for those with spinal cord injuries or disorders, and the sport is practiced at recreational and professional levels throughout the world. Years of conducting the program shows that these athletes can compete head-to-head with athletes not having injuries. Once on the water, the aquatic world is literally open and limitless to every disabled participant. There are no chairs, steps, or physical barriers to moving anywhere across the open water. The impact on those watching the sessions is profound as they are unaware that the athletes they see out on the water actually arrived in wheelchairs.”

For more information, visit www.bcoceanpositive.org.

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