BOISE — The Challenged Athletes Foundation Idaho hosted a sled hockey camp for adaptive athletes of all ages to get on the ice at Idaho Central Arena.
"I am just enjoying every moment of it, and getting out and trying the new experience, as well," Somchai Lurak, one of the camp attendees said.
“It is amazing," Emma Weigand, Somchai's wife, who also got on the ice, said. "It is so much fun getting to see what everyone is doing and all the people out here with different abilities. I am really enjoying it."
Lurak and Weigand were hit by a drunk driver in August of 2019. An accident that killed their three young daughters, Aneena, six, Kya, five, and Drayka Emyka Rayshell, 3, and left Lurak paralyzed.
Now, three years later after doctors told him they didn't know what he would be able to do, Lurak was on the ice playing a sport he loves.
“It means everything," Sharron and Thomas Weigand, Lurak's parents, said. "Before the accident, he was very active and outdoorsy. He has achieved much more than we were originally told, as far as his injury goes, and we take everything that we can and he has to work really hard for what he has achieved."
"I am just enjoying every moment of it and soaking it all up," Lurak added. "My favorite part is being able to actually get out on the ice. I didn’t think that was going to be a possibility after my injury, so this is a very good experience for me."
The camp was hosted by CAF, an organization that connects people with physical disabilities to sports. They provided the equipment and space for Lurak and several other adaptive athletes to get on the ice, and it was taught by past sled hockey players alongside Mission43.
"It is liberating, and it is freeing a little bit to know that there are so many different activities and clinics happening in the area where people with different disabilities can get out there and get involved," Emma said. "It is a really amazing thing for people that need that extra accessibility to have fun in a safe environment.
There were laughs, some falls, and a whole lot of fun, but for this one family that has been through so much the best part was feeling a sense of normalcy again.
"For the first time in over two years, we are sitting here in the same equipment. We are at the same level, doing the same thing, and it is cool to be completely equal, there are no disadvantages here or advantages," Emma said.
"Definitely, anything is possible as long as you get out there," Lurak added.
For the schedule of future CAF clinics, click here.