Therapists motivate patients to do as much as possible so they use their muscles and abilities, said Hayek, who is from Hickory. She earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from ECU in 2013.
“As I look toward treating patients in the future, if I had a patient interested in sled hockey, I could use that as an exercise to improve their core strength, arm strength and balance,” Hayek said. “To stay upright in the sled, one must have good core stability and balance. This is especially important in turning.”
Hayek said sled hockey would be a fun way to improve a patient’s physical fitness and observe their limits of stability if an ice facility and equipment were available. She could incorporate exercises into a land-based program if no facility or equipment was available, she said.
“This is the first time we’ve offered this sport in our ECU community,” Loy said. “We continually look for unique sport and recreational opportunities to bring to our community to make others aware of the endless possibilities for individuals with disabilities. This is by far, in my opinion, the most unique sport we’ve included in our events.”
ECU’s departments of recreation and leisure studies and physical therapy collaborated with Support Team for Active Recreation, Vidant Medical Center and the Vidant Medical Center Foundation to host the clinic.