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Patricia Neal Outpatient Center Innovative Recreation Cooperative

group of elderly people in a canoe


The Patricia Neal Innovative Recreation Cooperative (IRC) was created in 1994 to meet the needs of individuals who have suffered a life-changing illness or injury in East Tennessee. The program was designed to be a part of the continuum of care in the rehabilitation process. The scope of the program is to host clinics under an umbrella of education and awareness: education to teach leisure skills to enhance quality of life in a safe environment and awareness to heighten the understanding of disabilities in the community. In its existence, the IRC has seen over 15,000 participants and volunteers.


  • First adaptive water skiing program in Tennessee (June 1994)
  • First adaptive golf clinic in East Tennessee (September 1995)
  • Initiated the development of three sister water ski programs in the region – Chattanooga (1994), Corbin, Kentucky (1996), Nashville (1997)
  • First adaptive scuba diving clinic in Tennessee (March 1996)
  • First mono-ski in-services to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Patrol (October 1997)
  • First adaptive parasailing program in Tennessee (August 1998)
  • First marksmanship program (April 2004)
  • Exposure to over one million people in the region for awareness
  • Media support from Knoxville television and radio stations, as well as area papers
a group skiing


The disability groups primarily serviced by the IRC include those recovering from a brain or spinal injury; those who have had a stroke; those with orthopedic injuries, including amputees; and people with neurological impairments. The IRC hosts clinics in water skiing, snow skiing, paddling, cycling, climbing, marksmanship and golf regularly. Specialty clinics are hosted depending on interest, including road racing, tennis, sled hockey, hunting, fishing, self-defense and camping. It is not the intent of the IRC to be a recreation program as it is to promote education and awareness through recreation activities. The IRC is a resource center for contacts to recreation within venues in the community. If you are seeking an activity and do not have a resource, contact the IRC and we will try to assist you with resource information.

Event participation is on a first come, first serve basis with reservations taken at least two weeks prior to an event. There are limited numbers of people in most events to provide a safe environment. Registration for events is done directly through the recreation therapy office at 865-331-1353. If you would like to be added to the IRC email list to learn more about our events, contact Al Kaye at [email protected].

Donations and Gifts

The IRC program is an affiliate of the Patricia Neal Outpatient Center at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization. Contributions, fundraising and grants help support the program, and donations to the IRC are tax deductible. All proceeds go directly to the operations of the program, including equipment, repairs, special instructors and associated fees to conduct clinics. The IRC program is always looking for volunteers, who are an important part of our program. Please contact Al Kaye at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering or making a donation.

We are thankful to our many area sponsors for their support and contributions to the IRC program that allow us to continue to develop each individual’s right to self-directed leisure for a healthier lifestyle.

Covenant Health