By Cierra Putman
MIDLAND - The Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center’s pool will never hear the sound of children playing and getting stronger in the water again.
Now, only the silence of unused life jackets, floaters and swim toys remains. While a pool may be a luxury for most of us, workers there say it’s a life saver for some kids.
"Aquatic therapy is one of the key parts of our rehabilitation program,” Executive Director Brooke Mueller with the Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center, said. “There are some children that just cannot benefit or gain skills in any other environment."
Children from 0 to 22 with complications like Spina Bifida, muscular dystrophy and even autism's used to benefit from the pool.
The pool first started sinking and having problems about ten years ago.
But this August, at the end of the Rehab Center’s summer program, the pool stopped holding water and pool experts told the center it was at the point of no return.
Multiple cracks coupled with the foundation of the pool sinking finally put it out of commission.
Until there's a new pool, the Center's friends down the street are letting them use theirs.
"It's always fun to see the kids improve and see them make headway,” COM Aquatics President, Brad Swendig, said. “So, for me it's a small thing we do for them and we're happy to help."
Even with COM Aquatics' help, the Rehab Center has drastically reduced its aquatics rehab programs because the pools are not equipped to help some of their smaller kids.
Now the center's board is trying to get all its ducks in a row for a new pool.
It may take more than a million dollars, but the Center says the kids are worth it.
"When you get a kid in water that has never been able to move on their own,” Nancy Patterson, Director of Program Development at Midland Children's Rehabilitation Center, said. “And there’s nobody pushing them, they’re propelling themselves. That puts a big smile on their face. The have some control in their life.”
The Center's board still has to do some research before it can rebuild, but anyone interested in learning more about the Children’s Center and aquatic rehabilitation can give them a call at (432) 498-2053 or visit their web site at www.midlandchildren.org.