Thursday, April 5, 2007

Should Kids Tri?

The answer, I think, is yes.

I am a pediatric physical therapist who works primarily in the public school system. My patients are usually kiddos who were born with or acquired some sort of disability. These diagnosis include autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, specific learning disabilities, rare genetic conditions, degenerating corpus collosums, strokes, prematurity, hydrocephaly, you name it. These kids have potential, they are capable of so much and yet it seems like so many of us focus on what they can't do.

I want to help them see what they can do. I would love to put on a local kids triathlon but I don't just want to host the event. I foresee some training "clinics" where the kids can come to practice their swimming, biking, running, and stretching and learn other types of fitness activities that correspond to their personal strengths. All of the kids I see are on an active Individual Special Education (IEP) program and it would be so cool if that could be incorporated too. The typically developing children without these programs could definitely "train" and compete after a parental release was signed as well.

I was thinking that the "training" could involve 1 time per week after school with a therapist leading the group for 4-6 weeks. Exercise plans could be sent home to help parents help children prepare.

We have access to a zero depth entry pool, a small bicycle trail, and an indoor track. Obviously we would need age group distance changes and lots of volunteers. I work for a fantastic organization that would help any way they could and I don't want to do this half-heartedly. I want the kids to feel the excitement of race morning and know that they are expected to do well. I want them to cross a finish line and know that they are a better person than when they started the program 6 weeks before. I want the parents and teachers to talk up the race and help kids be excited.

I have lots of thinking to do and it would take a lot of work but if anyone has any suggestions please leave me a comment or email me.


blink140pnt6 said...

Great idea kt!

I would love to help you in any way possible.

My girls have done three races and love it.

I know a kids tri race director. I could put you in contact with her.

You know how to find me, at the scoop.

Duane said...

That is a great idea! My daughter Kelly (12) is training for her first tri this June and her peeps are starting to think about it too!

Cara said...

Fantastic idea! I agree. I think kids should try -- if they want to, that is.

Thanks for the VM on the In Transit hotline!!

Happy Easter.

Tri-Dummy said...

My son just did his first tri and loved it.

I direct a race in Maxwell, NE if you want some tips...send me an email.

TriSaraTops said...

I WISH they would have had some tris when I was a kid! I woulda eaten that up. Would love to help you plan, but I'm far away...and pregnant. :) Hey, how about you plan a kids tri in Cleveland sometime around 2013?