Although he spends the weekend sick and recovering, by Monday he is ready to start another week of Tae Kwon Do training.
“I like kicks and breaking boards best,” said Ayden, who just earned his brown belt, one rank away from his dream of getting a black belt. “It hurts sometimes … I’m not allowed to do pushups because of my wrist.”
Ayden’s right wrist is mostly fused, one of 11 joints affected by the autoimmune disease.
“Juvenile arthritis triggers inflammation in the bone and joint tissues,” explained Joanne Simons, executive director of The Arthritis Society’s Ontario Division.
Ayden’s arthritis first showed up when his wrist stopped moving, says his mother, Sonja.
“He complained a lot about pain,” she said. “He had joint swelling and the joints were hot to the touch …. He had swollen knees, swollen ankles.”
When he was first diagnosed, about a year ago, Sonja and her husband thought it would be the end of Tae Kwon Do, which had been Ayden’s passion and daily after-school activity since he was four years old.
OMAC, which stands for Oriental Martial Arts College, has since created a special training program for Ayden.
He still participates in daily after-school training, but does not make contact with other students. When working with an instructor, certain blocks and punches are monitored or limited to protect his wrist.
Also known as childhood arthritis, the disease results in serious pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. It can lead to joint deformities and inability to use affected joints if left untreated.
Simons said that because arthritis comes on fast in children, medical care must be sought out right away.
“It’s a medical emergency. Those children need to be treated effectively and by the right physician.”
“As soon as the child start feeling the symptoms you have about 90 days before it may leave the child in a situation where their joints are starting to be deformed and that is not reversible,” said Simons.
Source: Saira Peesker
Photo Credit: Barry Gray/ The Hamilton Spectator