'A massive exhilarating high' - How a ski club is helping people with disabilities enjoy winter sports
PUBLISHED: 18:21 05 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:56 09 January 2020
As he speeds down the dry ski slope, it is difficult to imagine that eight years ago Kieran Young was in an induced coma with a traumatic brain injury.
But that was the reality for the 39-year-old, from Church Road in Kessingland, who fell down concrete steps in Lowestoft during a night out with friends aged 31.
Mr Young, a former welders mate who was a keen cyclist and white water kayaker, spent four months in an induced coma at Addenbrooke's Hospital and nine months at Norwich's Colman Centre for Specialist Rehabilitation after a metal plate was put in his brain.
Despite not being paralysed, he has to use a motorised wheelchair due his neurological condition dystonia. He also suffers from epilepsy and short-term memory loss.
Since then he has taken up skiing and for the past four years has been a regular at the adaptive sessions at Norfolk Snowsports Club in Trowse which allows people with any disability to enjoy the slopes through skiing, snowboarding or tubing.
People with physical disabilities, like Mr Young, are helped thanks to specialist equipment and the adaptive group needs to raise £6,500 to go towards replacing its two sit skis - a chair on skis. One of the sit skis is 20 years old and so far £3,500 has been raised.
Mr Young said: "I had never done any skiing before. The feeling I get when I go down the slope is a massive exhilarating high."
His mother, Ann Young, said: "Kieran loves to do anything where speed is involved. He is not a quitter."
As well as skiing, her son has taken part in adaptive sailing for the same amount of time at Oulton Broad.
Mrs Young added: "The adaptive ski sessions are nice and social. It is nice for him to have the time to interact with others."
Two other youngsters who benefit from the equipment are Roman Carey, 10, and his younger brother Harley Carey, six, who have autism and a mixed neurodevelopmental disorder.
Their mother, Kayleigh Carey, 34, from Beck View in Harleston, said: "The equipment is amazing. The sessions have made Roman calmer, able to make friends, be more sociable and learn about boundaries."
About 25 volunteers run the twice monthly sessions every Sunday for about 30 people aged six to 50 and hope to raise the £6,500 by this summer.
Snowfit ski and snowboard shop in Norwich recently donated £1,200.
Chris Sturgess from Snowfit said: "Snowfit/Revolutionz are delighted to have been able to give a real boost to the Adaptive Skiing Funds at Norfolk Snowsport's Club."
The money was raised through 5pc of takings in the store on the Black Friday weekend.
For details call Norfolk Snowsports Club on 01603 662781.