Jumping for the disabled
THERE is nothing more rewarding for Nikki Wood, of Scarborough, than seeing people with disabilities from her Gymability and Rebound program gain more mobility to enjoy life.
The Peak Trampoline manager and head coach started the program, based at Lords Recreation Centre, earlier this year working with children and adults, including several in wheelchairs.
Each participant works with their carer and a coach on a program that suits their needs and abilities.
Rodney (45) has cerebral palsy and was largely wheelchair bound when he first started but strength and conditioning coach Saia WoodHalafihi, Ms Woods’ son, soon had him out of the chair and starting his sessions on the trampoline.
“When he first came to us his muscles were very tight but now we have him stretching out like a starfish,” Ms Wood said.
“His mobility is excellent now.”
Angela (35) has gone from sitting in her wheelchair or lying on the floor to standing using bars and doing core work. “Her time out of the chair and mobility have increased significantly,” Ms Wood said.
The former physical education teacher was working as a deputy principal in the UK specialising in behaviour and special needs three years ago when she got a call from her sister, burns specialist Fiona Wood, to help expand the schools program at the non-profit trampoline club she co-founded in 2009.
After getting the necessary qualifications in the UK, Ms Wood moved to Perth two years ago and has boosted the club’s membership from 70 to 450.
Ms Wood said the most crucial part of the Gymability and Rebound program was putting together an exceptional coaching team.
Jack Petrie and Naomie Ding are coaches on the program joining physiotherapist Lesley Walsh and Mr Wood-Halafihi.
Ms Wood works with a diverse group of people from elite competitors, including her niece Eva Kierath, to people with disabilities and says each has different rewards.
“We have such a diverse range of programs and to me it’s just about seeing anyone – whether they’re from the recreational program, squad, team future or special needs – achieve a little thing,” Ms Wood said.
Scarborough resident Nikki Wood, manager at Peak Trampoline and head coach, with client Rodney on the trampoline.
Physiotherapist Lesley Walsh works with Rodney who has made great progress since on the program.