The Joy of Participation

He might not be able to tell you with the spoken word, but you can see it in his eyes, his movements, his stamina and, perhaps most of all, his spirit.
 
Drew Adamson is getting better.
 
After four years of active duty with the Army, including more than a year of combat duty in Iraq, Adamson was back at Fort Benning in Georgia when he suffered an anoxic brain injury in late 2008.
 
After four years of physical, occupational and speech therapy at VA hospitals and other facilities, the non-ambulatory Adamson was matched in 2012 with Dr. Louisa Summers, a professor in EKU’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science who specializes in helping adults with chronic conditions such as arthritis, cancer, low back pain, MS, Parkinson’s, spinal injuries, fibromyalgia or osteoporosis. 
 
It has been a perfect marriage.
 
Twice a week, Adamson is joined by his parents, Nancy and EKU aviation professor Jim Adamson, at Summers’ “Exercise for Adults with Chronic Conditions” class, offered through the University’s Community Education program. In addition to a variety of therapeutic exercises led by Summers, he enjoys the social interaction with the assisting student fitness trainers, some close to his age. Adamson has also benefited from aquatic therapy and a therapeutic horseback riding regimen.
 
All the hard work has allowed Adamson to take part in such community events such as golf, bowling, baseball games, fishing and even climbing. Summers calls it the “joy of participation.”
 
Last year, Summers and EKU occupational therapy student Maria Sebastiani presented the results of their work with Adamson at the World Congress on Brain Injury conference in San Francisco.
 
This isn’t Summers’ first experience with Wounded Warriors. Earlier this year, she used her sabbatical to help severely injured military veterans at four Wounded Warrior Project Lima Foxtrot camps at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama.
 
“I would like to better serve our veterans at EKU and in Madison County,” Summers said at the time. “Most of our veterans will not identify as having a disability. However, many veterans with minimal disability can help those few who have greater disabilities, such as spinal cord injuries, or amputees. Some older veterans may be interested in exercising with others or maybe coaching or playing wheelchair basketball. Once we get wheelchair basketball started (this fall), it will be for able-bodied individuals as well. We will all be playing together.”
 
For more information, contact Summers at louisa.summers@eku.edu.