Beginning in January 2019, airline passengers can search the U.S. Department of Transportation website to determine an airlines’ track record of handling wheelchairs and other mobility devices. A new law sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., requires air carriers to be more transparent, obliging them to provide monthly reports that are publicly accessible and which detail the number of wheelchairs, checked bags, and motorized scooters lost, broke, or mishandled during flights.
The law was actually passed two years ago, but the Department of Transportation delayed its implementation until Duckworth–a veteran and wheelchair user herself–urged U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to force airlines to make the data — which they already collect each month — available to the public.
One in four Americans is disabled, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Thursday “At some point in their lives, most people will either have a disability or know someone who has a one,” Coleen Boyle, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in a written statement. Read Binghui Huang’s story here.
Sled hockey is a sport where people with physical disabilities are able to play hockey with the same rules, but different equipment.
Some NHL teams are affiliated with a sled hockey team that adopts their same name and jerseys. The Coyotes are Arizona’s sled hockey team that play at Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“I played pick-up hockey almost every night (in Minnesota) but I did not get to play ice hockey until after I lost my leg,” Mike Schulenberg said, a defensive player on the Coyotes sled hockey team.
Schulenberg lost his leg when he was 25. He had battled for 10 years trying to help his leg recover after getting cancer in it when he was 15.
He played on the Minnesota sled hockey team for seven years before moving to Arizona and joining their team in 2017.
“We used to play against the Arizona team when we were in tournaments when I was in Minnesota so I already knew some of the people, when I moved I contacted them and started skating down here,” Schulenberg said.
Sled hockey is played with two sticks, one in each hand, to hit the puck as well as to help the players push themselves forward in the sleds. The sticks are roughly one third the size of typical hockey sticks, the NHL website states.
The players sit and are strapped into their sleds which have a blade on the bottom to glide across the ice. The game is played with the same rules as hockey, but the equipment is adapted to let people who can’t use their legs play the game, Schulenberg said.
Paul Crane started the team in 2004 and has been a coach as well as a player ever since.
“I help look for funding along with others from different sponsors, that’s what helps run the team so we have ice and have travel,” Crane said.
Since Crane is both a player and a coach he helps to organize the practices and comes up with different drills that can challenge and advance the skills of the team, he said.
In Crane’s 15 years of coaching the team he said that he has seen people join with skill levels from beginner to professional.
He said when teaching people the sport, usually the hardest part is teaching them to find their balance with the sled and learning to maneuver using the sticks.
“Everybody advances differently, you just have to get them in the sled and get them out there, teach them to push and turn and then puck handling and they go on from there,” Crane said.
People of any skill level can join this team whether they have never played before or are a Paralympian. However, only three able-bodied people are allowed on each team, Schulenberg said.
Joe Hamilton is another player on the Coyotes sled hockey team. He said he joined in 2010 when he first heard about the team and had never played sled hockey before.
“I picked it up really quick, it’s kind of like monoskiing, it’s all balance and that is the hardest part,” Hamilton said.
He said he heard about the team through a friend who knew another sled hockey player. Hamilton went to one of the tournament games that same week and said he joined right away.
The Coyotes sled hockey won their first tournament game of 2018 on March 2 against the Los Angeles Kings in Scottsdale.
Schulenberg said despite some rough weekends trying to win games this season, they hope to advance as far as possible in the tournament and hope to take the championship.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published a report today outlining common barriers to medical education faced by med school students with disabilities. The research on this topic was prompted by the AAMC‘s desire to promote diversity among its student, faculty and professional membership, and facilitate the standardization of accommodations. The report suggests that, although more medical school students are self-identifying as having disabilities, a culture of competition still promotes stigma around disability. Philadelphia public radio’s (WHYY) Elana Gordon wrote a short article summarizing the AAMC report and the responses it prompted from disability rights advocates.
The competition in PyeongChang isn’t over! NBC will air the Winter Paralympic Games on NBCSN, Olympic Channel, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app from March 9-18. Coverage begins with the opening ceremony tonight at 6 a.m. ET on NBCSN. If you’d like an early preview check out Ben Shpigel’s report and Chang W. Lee’s glossy photos for the New York Times.
Click hereto see the schedule of events and broadcast times on NBCSN.
Melissa Shang is only in 8th grade but she’s already written a highly-rated novel and led an online petition that went viral. The young, talented writer and wheelchair user recently wrote an opinion essay for the New York Times that defends her preference for a positive perspective while writing about characters with disabilities. Check out her essay ‘Stories About Disability Don’t Have to Be Sad’ by clicking here.
An article from The Baltimore Sun says The Kennedy Krieger Institute, a research facility focusing on pediatric developmental disabilities, has a therapeutic program that teaches patients with paralysis how to scuba dive. One therapist even theorizes that the pressure of deep water affects how nitrogen is circulated through patients’ tissues and improves their sensitivity.
NY Times reports Hideto Kijima, a disabled rights activist who is partly paralyzed, said he was told by staff of a Japanese airline that he could not board because the small plane was not wheel-chair accessible. The episode has drawn significant public attention and the airline, Vanilla Air, has since apologized. Read more.