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Triumph Foundation hosts second Wheelchair Sports Day

Posted: April 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Dave Nicholls, left, crashes into Joey Mearig's wheelchair during a rugby game at the wheelchair sports event held at the City of Santa Clarita Sports Complex in Santa Clarita. Nicholls drove from Park City Utah to attend the event on Saturday. Photo by Dan Watson.

About 150 people turned out Saturday to take part in an event geared at promoting athletics and awareness for those who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

The event, dubbed Wheelchair Sports Day, was held Saturday in the gymnasium at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Centre Pointe Parkway and featured a variety of wheelchair sports, including basketball, hockey, racquetball, hand cycling and rugby.

The event was put on by the Triumph Foundation, a local organization geared at helping those who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

Canyon Country resident Andrew Skinner, the foundation’s executive director and founder, said the event is meant to give such athletes a chance to be active and social.

Skinner himself is a quadriplegic as a result of the injuries he sustained while snowboarding around eight years ago.
Ever since he was injured, Skinner said he wanted to reach out and help others in a similar situation.

“It’s like an extended family,” Skinner said, as he exchanged a fist-bump with another attendee. “It’s the same tight-knit group.”

While plenty of Saturday’s participants had suffered past spinal cord injuries, Skinner said other “able-bodied” people also joined in to get a glimpse of what life can be like in a wheelchair.

This is part of the goal of the event and the overall foundation: to raise awareness, Skinner said.

“People don’t understand how many members of their community are disabled,” Skinner said.

The event also drew participants from outside the Santa Clarita Valley, such as Long Beach resident Albert Moreida.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” Moreida said of the event. “It really brightens my spirits.”

Moreida, who uses a wheelchair after being injured a year and a half ago, said getting out and playing sports can be therapeutic.

“Whenever I feel angry or frustrated, this really gives me a positive outlet for that,” he said.


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