Wheelchair Rugby Fundraiser Raises Money for Medical Mission Trip

Written by Johnson Lam DPT’20
Published on March 15, 2018

Wheelchair rugby vs Magee Eagles.

The Magee Eagles challenged USciences students to a friendly game of wheelchair rugby last month as part of a fundraiser for an interprofessional medical mission trip to Costa Rica.

On Feb. 12, 2018 the Student Physical Therapy Club coordinated a quadriplegic rugby demo for all of campus. This event raised funds to send students from the Universitys physician assistant, occupational therapy, and physical therapy programs on the mission.

The Magee Eagles, Philadelphia’s own quadriplegic rugby team sponsored by Magee Rehabilitation, represents the city in tournaments all across the country.  They arrived at UScience’s Athletic/Recreation Center to show students and faculty that although most people may consider them limited or disabled, they are quite capable of playing a sport that requires a level of physicality that even able-bodied people may lack.

Wheelchair RubgyAfter explaining some of the rules and requirements of the game, the Magee Eagles allowed spectators to take turns and get in wheelchairs to play against them in a friendly scrimmage. It didn’t take very long for students to realize how much strength, endurance, and coordination it took to play this game.

“I was tired after a couple of minutes,” said Garrett Rumsby DPT’20. “You watch them play and you’re thinking ‘Oh yeah I can do that.’ But when you get in the chair and you try it, you realize it’s harder than it looks.”

Rumsby said it took a lot of skill to move around the way they did in these wheelchairs

Wheelchair Rugby“What especially surprised me was how aggressive they were,” he said. “They were crashing into us so hard going full speed that I felt my chair almost tip over a few times.”

Although it was a friendly scrimmage and score wasn’t kept, it was clear that the Magee Eagles could beat any team the students put together proving that they are able to compete physically and mentally.

“This has definitely humbled and inspired me,” said Rachel Henrysen DPT’20 “As a PT student, I know that in the future I may have a chance to work with patients that are affected by spinal cord injuries just like these athletes. Watching them play and talking to a few of them has made me realize that patients with these limitations can still do amazing things because of physical therapy.”

This demo showed physical therapy students that their role in rehabilitation is important and special. RugbyPatients need physical therapy not only to regain function, but also to learn how to live when some functions are completely lost. Students were able to gain an insight on their future patients and what they are capable of achieving.

The Magee Eagles are an inspiration and the members of the Student Physical Therapy Club are very thankful for the opportunity to allow our students to interact with them and learn from them.  The club also thanks alumni, faculty and students for their help in putting on a successful event.

Categories:  Physician Assistant StudiesSamson College of Health SciencesPhysical TherapyStudentsOccupational TherapyDepartment of Physical Therapy