New Gloucester skier with brain injury gets to continue sport he loves

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NEW GLOUCESTER — What goes around comes around.

Donald Ketcham volunteered when he was a teenager and now, 15 years after a serious accident, Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation volunteers give back to Ketcham.

Ketcham was raised in a large family that loved being outdoors. He volunteered with the Student Conservation Corps, and made a name for himself in the world of blacksmithing. Ketcham demonstrated his blacksmith skills at the Common Ground Fair as a teenager.

“Donald is an all outdoors guy,” said his mother Ellen Ketcham, who home schooled Donald and his four brothers and sisters in Farmington.

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Donald’s life changed 15 years ago but his passion for the outdoors did not. He was 19, working for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho and mountain biking with a friend when he collided with a motorcycle.

Now 34 and with a brain injury, Ketcham still gets to bike and ski thanks to volunteers with Maine Adaptive (formerly Maine Handicapped Skiing). “The support of the volunteers is huge,” said Tobie Colgan, a recreational therapist for Goodwill NeuroRehab Services in Lewiston. Colgan and Ketcham Nordic ski every winter Thursday at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester and bike in Portland’s Back Bay during the summer. “It’s his desire to get outside and to be active. He loves the outdoors,” Colgan said.

Ketcham picked up skiing with Maine Adaptive a year after his accident. And while his short term memory loss keeps him from expressing his thoughts, Ellen Ketcham knows her son enjoys his time on the trails. “When he is skiing, I know he loves it,” she said.

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