Sled Warriors prep for Empire State Games

January 21, 2018 06:45 PM

COLONIE - Derek Gallo was born with Spina bifida. The 24-year-old needs crutches to walk. But out on the ice, none of it matters.

"Everyone is on the same stage, everyone is on the same equipment," he said.

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Gallo joined the Sled Warriors more than a decade ago.

"I came, tried it, and then fell in love with it ever since," he said.

Gallo says it's a good source of exercise. It allows him to stay active and it's pure joy to compete with others.

"I like the physical aspect of it," he said. "It's lot of fun."

Gallo and his teammates are looking forward to the Empire State Winter Games in February in Lake Placid. They were at the Albany County Hockey Facility in Colonie on Sunday morning practicing their skills to get ready.

"There's more teams this year. Now there are eight teams," said organizer Don Gallo. "I think the word got out. The sport is growing bigger. We got some challenges."

Sled Warriors is part of Stride Adaptive Sports out of East Greenbush. It's the only team in the Capital Region. It's made up of men and women with disabilities.

"Some motorcycle accidents where the players have become paralyzed. Some of them from half chest all the way down," said Don Gallo.

Organizers say this is an opportunity for them to bond, talk about their disabilities and the challenges they face in different situations.

"They get a lot out of it," Don Gallo said. "They like a little bit of aggression. The camaraderie is a lot of fun. Who doesn't like a road trip in a hotel on a weekend?"


WNYT Staff

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