Cottage Program prompts return to sports

After being struck by a drunk driver, avid hockey player Kristen Cameron’s life changed forever.

Paralyzed from the collarbone down with limited mobility in her arms and wrists, Kristen came to terms with the ‘new normal’ of her life while at Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst Centre for spinal cord rehabilitation.

The Lyndhurst team saw the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Cottage Program as an opportunity for Kristen to get involved with sports again. Every year, Lyndhurst staff members take patients to the Lake Joseph Centre, near Parry Sound, Ontario, to explore outdoor leisure activities such as sailing, waterskiing and kayaking and the chance to practice daily living skills in a non-clinical setting.

At first, Kristen was reluctant to participate but finally made the decision to attend.

"What I saw with Kristen is that she was one woman before attending the program and she was another when she left," recalls Charlene Alton, Professional Practice Leader for therapeutic recreation. "She was able to take a traumatic experience and change it into a positive experience."

Learn more about the Cottage Program

Kristen is now on her way to making the National Wheelchair Rugby team, and this summer she'll be watching her peers represent Canada at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto.

(Photo: Sportsnet)