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UH Adaptive Athletics to Host Wheelchair Rugby Camp

  • Synopsis: Published: 2017-06-18 - University of Houston Adaptive Athletics program will host free 4 day wheelchair rugby summer camp open to men and women June 22 through June 25 at the UH Recreation and Wellness Center. For further information pertaining to this article contact: University of Houston at www.uh.edu.

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"Wheelchair rugby has taught me so many lessons that have led to success on, and equally important, off the court. I have not quit on the court playing rugby or in the court of life..."

UH Study: Wheelchair Rugby Lowers Depression and Stress in Spinal Cord Injury Patients.

Wheelchair rugby is a high-octane team contact sport changing the lives and mental health of the spinal cord injury patients who play it. A new study from the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance found that frequent participation in wheelchair rugby was associated with lower levels of depression and stress among men with tetraplegia.

The study, funded by TIRR Memorial Hermann and published in the journal Spinal Cord, found that while about half of all spinal cord injury patients suffer from symptoms of psychological distress, just 17 percent of the 150 wheelchair rugby players who participated in the study had symptoms. Furthermore, athletes who practiced wheelchair rugby two or more times per week scored significantly lower on depression and stress tests compared to those who practiced once a week or less.

"It's such a unique sport, and there's so much camaraderie where participants come together in a safe environment with people just like them," said Stephanie Silveira, UH graduate student and lead study author. "The teammates help each other with not only how to play, but with different life skills as well."

There are around 276,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in the United States and 80 percent of them are men. While previous studies have shown that participation in adaptive sports in general has a positive impact on mental health, this is the first study to focus on frequency of practice in just one sport.

"Participating in multiple wheelchair sports can be really expensive, so that's not feasible for some. The great finding with this study is you can still have great results playing one sport two times a week. We met men who were totally transformed by playing the sport," said researcher and assistant professor Daphne Hernandez, who worked on the study.

The research team also included assistant professor Michael Cottingham and associate professor Tracy Ledoux.

Steve Kearley suffered a spinal cord injury during his senior year of high school in 1988. He was active in sports before his injury and wanted to remain active after. Eventually, he helped start the TIRR Texans, the only U.S. Quad Ruby Association team in Houston, where he is currently a player and coach.

"Through this sport, I was introduced to what I was capable of achieving in life--from watching and learning from other guys that were living life fully. I am physically stronger, more independent and as competitive as ever," said Kearley. "Wheelchair rugby has taught me so many lessons that have led to success on, and equally important, off the court. I have not quit on the court playing rugby or in the court of life. I love life and I live it to the fullest. It's in large part because of what I have learned from playing wheelchair rugby."

According to the United States Quad Rugby Association, there are 600 wheelchair rugby athletes nationwide, but only 36 women are on U.S. rosters.

In an effort to increase visibility, the University of Houston Adaptive Athletics program will host a four day wheelchair rugby summer camp open to men and women June 22 through June 25 at the UH Recreation and Wellness Center. It is free of charge for participants and transportation will be provided to and from the airport when flying to Houston.

  • Who: UH Adaptive Athletics
  • What: Free Wheelchair Rugby Summer Camp
  • When: June 22 - June 25
  • Where: UH Recreation and Wellness Center, 4500 University Dr., Houston, TX 77004

Video Clip: UH Showcase: Study Finds Wheelchair Rugby Lowers Depression Levels

Wheelchair rugby is a high-octane team contact sport changing the lives and mental health of the spinal cord injury patients who play it. A new study from the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance found that frequent participation in wheelchair rugby was associated with lower levels of depression and stress among men with tetraplegia.

Learn More About University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 43,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.



Related:

  1. Wheelchair Rugby: Rules & Information - Information and rules for wheelchair rugby a team sport for athletes with a disability and a Paralympic sport - Ian Langtree
  2. Wheelchair Sports: News & Information - Just because you are in a wheelchair does not mean you can not enjoy competitiveness and fun that playing sports offers you.
  3. Wheelchairs and the Sports Lover - Just because you are in a wheelchair does not mean you can not enjoy the competitiveness and just all around fun playing sports - Robert Michael



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