BANGOR - Husson University hosted its 23rd annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament on Saturday. It was a day full of fun and bonding amongst the school's students, staff, and alumni.
"We're trying to get the community together, get other students together, and just play some basketball," V.P. of Husson's Organization for Physical Therapy Students Kyle Artkop says.
The event was a fundraiser for the school's Physical Therapy Travel fund, allows physical therapy students to travel to events that help bolster their experience in the field. In particular, this event raised money for them to attend the next year's Combined Sections Meeting in Massachusetts.
"[The Combined Sections Meeting] is through the American Physical Therapy Association," assistant PT professor Dr. Michelle Slike explains. "[Students] will have a chance to go to different educational sessions that we can't provide here at the college."
"They will do practice-based evidence research and the new things going on in PT," Artkop adds. "That way, we can stay current."
The benefit was a huge success, raising nearly $1,000. On the court, though, results varied. Most teams struggled to score more than four points each game.
"It's one thing to use a wheelchair by itself," Husson physical therapy student Jonathan Lendrum says. "But implementing a basketball, passing it, shooting it, thinking about where your teammates are, and not running into people makes it 100 times harder."
"I used to play basketball and I can barely get a layup in," Dr. Slike admits.
Beyond the hardships of playing in a wheelchair, this event gives those in it a whole new perspective on what it's like to live in one.
"It's eye opening," Artkop says. "We're talking people that would be doing this days at a time."
"This is a turning point in somebody's life," Lendrum adds. "No one really expects it and it can happen anytime."
If it does happen, it will be the physical therapy students people will come to in the future. In many ways, gaining these perspectives helps their careers.
"It kind of changes how you would actually treat them in the clinic, understanding [their] goals, and helping them get better," Artkop says.
"It's a really nice way to celebrate the things that we enjoy as therapists, but also for the students to learn along the way," Dr. Slike says.