Adaptive Sports Day Helps Individuals Living with Spinal Cord Injuries Get Active

Northwestern Medicine
Neurosciences July 15, 2019
Once an avid archer, John Paris, of Oswego, hadn’t picked up a bow and arrow since he suffered a spinal cord injury over six years ago. He had the opportunity to practice the sport he loves once again at an adaptive sports day hosted by Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine and Adaptive Adventures*. On one of his first attempts, Paris hit a bullseye.

“I think it is fantastic. It’s been a long time for me to be back in the saddle,” said Paris.

The adaptive sports event was a special outing for members of Marianjoy’s Lives in Motion, a support group for those living with spinal cord injuries or disease, and their family and caregivers. Participants enjoyed archery, adaptive cycling and kayaking at the Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

“We want our participants to stay active, meet new people and see that there is more to life outside of their wheelchair or their new normal. We like to get them out to see what life has to offer," said group leader Monica Scalise, an occupational therapist at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine.

Scalise says for many of the participants this was their first time trying these new activities. She hopes for some these sports become new hobbies.

Education, resources and support are the main objectives of the Lives in Motion group. However, Scalise notes that as she has watched individuals share their similar day-to-day challenges, there is a kinship that emerges based on an understanding and appreciation for what another member is going through.

Participants include those who are still receiving outpatient therapy, former patients and community members living with a spinal cord injury.

For more information, visit marianjoy.org or email Monica Scalise.
Spinal cord injury support group members enjoy kayaking during the Marianjoy adaptive sports day
Spinal cord injury support group members enjoy cycling during the Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital adaptive sports day

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