SPORTS, FITNESS & DANCE

Adaptive rock climbing with Blazesports and Catalyst Sports

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

William Blakely

Starting Rock Climbing as a teenager

Blazesports is an organization that offers a bunch of physical activities, including rock climbing for disabled kids and paralyzed veterans to participate in. I started rock climbing with them maybe six or seven years ago when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. Blaze teamed up with a group of adaptive climbing volunteers called Catalyst Sports which is another nonprofit organization that have nine different chapters in five different states and climbing is offered in every chapter. We climbed both indoors at Stone Summit Climbing and fitness center in Atlanta, Georgia and outdoors at Cherokee Rock Village in Leesburg, Alabama. When I first started climbing, I was able to climb up the wall by myself with just someone belaying me from below like Abbey. As I got older, my leg muscles started to weaken due to not walking and going in my wheelchair full time. I went from being a solo climber to needing a side climber on the wall with me. I climbed with Blazesports and Catalyst from when I was thirteen or fourteen years old to when I was seventeen years old and during that time, I recieved the Gwinnett County Positive Athlete award in both my sophomore and junior years of high school.

Getting back into rock climbing with Catalyst Sports

When I ended up not rock climbing with Blaze anymore due to turning eighteen after my last climbing session with them, I wasn't too happy because I was gonna miss it. I tried other things as I got older. I turned twenty back in January and found out that Catalyst was having an adaptive climbing clinic back in April for anyone with a spinal cord injury and physical disability, so I talked to my parents and I got back on the climbing wall for the first time since I was seventeen on April 13th, 2019 and it definitely was a workout for me. I loved attending and participating in April, so I went to the June clinic. Maggie (one of my side climbers) said that my foot placement had improved from the April to June climbing clinic, which was a good thing for me because I feel like the more I do something, the better and easier it gets :)

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