WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Although the Olympic Games may have come and gone, the competitive spirit is alive and well at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains. The hospital will host its 37th Annual Wheelchair Games on Saturday, Sept. 24, providing mentally and physically disabled athletes the chance to go for gold.
Attracting competitors from as far away as Michigan and Georgia, the games help those who wouldn't otherwise be able to compete experience the joy of sports. "Some of the individuals that come don’t get a chance to participate in athletic events, so this is an amazing opportunity for them to do something they normally don’t get to do," said Richard Sgaglio, senior administrator at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital.
Founded in 1979, Burke's Wheelchair Games were one of the first competitions of its kind. "The games began when there were very few athletic competitions for those in wheelchairs," said Sgaglio. "Over the years there has been a growth of highly competitive Paralympic competitions, but the Wheelchair Games are about inclusion for people of all abilities. A lot of the competition at the Games is about trying your best."
Athletes participate in a variety of different events, ranging from track and shotput, to table tennis and wheelchair basketball. For spectators, the afternoon will feature carnival games and the chance to cheer on competitors, all free of charge.
For those looking to compete, sign-ups are still available. There is a small charge for athletes, but the fee can be waived for those who qualify.
"Wholly organized by volunteers, many of which come from within Burke, the Wheelchair Games shows the care Burke has not only for its patients, but the community as a whole,” said Sgaglio.
The Wheelchair Games will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 24 at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital's 61-acre campus.
For more information on the event, visit Burke's website.