One impairment one might think would be one of the harder ones to overcoming in rowing, but which is seeing a surge in interest, is arm impairments. Another recent recruit to adaptive rowing is Emma Green who used the motivational strategy of “pre-commit” to get herself into a rowing boat. She agreed to join a charity row down the Thames in aid of Parkinsons (which she has) despite never having rowed…oh, and despite having the full use of only one arm (as a result of the Parkinsons).
Emma came down to Marlow where she has joined the adaptive squad and where and increasing amount of sweep rowing is taking place. Not just because of the increase in arm impairments (Marlow alone has 4 athletes with arm impairments), but also because people enjoy the camaraderie of crew boats and the focus (on one oar) of sweep rowing.
Emma describes here situation on her fund raising page for the row supporting the Cure Parkinson Trust.
- “In May 2018, I finally went to see the doctor. I’d been struggling with using my right hand for quite a while and thought I’d done too much yoga! The doctor told me I had Parkinson’s. First, I cried. Then I decided that I’d be the healthiest person ever! Exercise is the best treatment for Parkinson’s so I tried out the indoor rowing machine when I was on holiday. It was fun. Then I decided to learn how to row on the river. That’s even more fun! Although a little difficult with one hand that doesn’t do what I want!”
I was able to catch with Emma to get more of a drill down into her initial perspectives on rowing…
- What prompted you to take up adaptive rowing?
I started indoor rowing for fitness and then decided to learn how to row on the river. I saw that Marlow had an adaptive group and realised I wanted to join.
- What has been the most difficult part of rowing with your impairment?
I have 2 difficulties. The first is the physical one, where my right hand just can’t move to feather and square. The second is the difficulty I have connecting my thoughts to my movement eg. I know that I need to square earlier, but my connection is slow between my brain and the movement. But I’ve realised that if I say the movements aloud, I’m more successful.
- Do you row with your strong arm on the rigger side or away from the rigger?
Strong left arm on the rigger, bow side.
- What has been easier than you expected?
Not easier, but fun 🙂
- What was the hardest part of your challenge row?
The mental challenge where you want to stop but you can’t.
You can donate to Emma’s fundraising on the Cure Parkinson Trust’s site here.