Nicholas was born prematurely at 31 weeks. He had two life-threatening infections during his seven-week NICU stay but made it home. We noticed some developmental delays in his motor skills around seven months of age and he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP).
His CP is the type known as diplegia. It impacts both of his legs. It results in increased muscle tone (tightness) in hamstrings and calves – particularly his Achilles – and a weak trunk/core.
Because of his difficult combination of spasticity and weakness, swimming has been amazing for him. It lengthens and strengthens all of his muscles--stretching his legs and improving his core strength. He started swimming in 2016 as an alternative to physical therapy and fell in love with it!
This winter, he had a procedure for his CP to try and improve his spasticity. They inject Botox to multiple muscle sites in both legs to chemically paralyze the muscles and then position him in casts to achieve maximal muscle stretching. During this incredibly long and painful 6-week process--in which he had to learn to walk all over again--the one goal he had was to return to GCY for the Y Championships. One of his proudest moments was being able to get up on the blocks and compete with the rest of his team just 2 months after his procedure.
Other accomplishments: he won his summer swim (Henson Forest) spirit award for his first season (2016) and most improved swimmer in 2017 (after his first year with GCY). He is legal in all 4 strokes —accomplishing his goal of swimming an IM — and continually works to improve his times. He enjoys cheering on his teammates, including his little sister. Moving up to Age Group was a big accomplishment for him this fall.