Benefits of playing in the WCHL are both physical and psychological. David Simpson, volunteer league physician and Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA Link
) clinic director in Farmington Hills, Michigan, says he has seen positive health benefits in participants and feels hockey has helped motivate some players to keep healthy. When players get sick or hurt, they often ask Simpson when they will be able to compete again. "We use that," says Simpson. "It's a positive motivator. It gets them well and keeps them fighting. They're staying physically active. They're out there exercising. You can see the positive energy," he adds. Even though players are serious about what they are doing, they have lots of fun. According to league member Mike Belanger, "The closeness comes when we're off the floor, and the game is just a bonus." League events have become an unofficial support group for players' parents. Information and empathy flow, and parents discuss the challenges raised by their children's disabilities.