Volunteers from the Jefferson School of Health Professions were on hand at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games last week to give back to Veterans.
The students volunteered to assist with various sporting events including basketball, quad rugby, weight lifting and swimming. Throughout the week, over 500 Veteran athletes from around the country participated in 17 different events. Some athletes are seasoned professionals who are training for the Paralympics; others are trying wheelchair sports for the first time.
“Volunteering at events like this is a great learning experience for our students,” said Janette Scardillo, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy in the Jefferson School of Health Professions. “This is valuable clinical experience that better prepares our students for their careers, and it is also a great opportunity to serve and give back to our Nation’s Veterans.”
Jim Casler, physical therapy student and volunteer, saw a movie about quad rugby (also known as murderball) but this was his first experience seeing it live.
“It’s intense,” he said about the sport. Overall the experience allowed him to put the physical therapy curriculum into practice. “It was great to take all the theoretical information we have been taught within our curriculum at Jefferson and apply it to a real life hands on experience. Transferring the participants into or out of the quad rugby wheelchairs is much different than the typical chair to bed transfer and provided a great learning opportunity. Not only did I get to observe the Veterans and how they adapt to their functional capabilities, but also I was able to witness how the families adjust their lives and the roles that family members/caregivers accept when confronted with such life-altering events.”
During quad rugby, the physical therapy students kept track of the time and score and assisted Veterans with transferring into wheelchairs that are specially-designed to take a beating in the aggressive sport.