At Edge of Crashing Wheelchairs
Published on September 25, 2015 by Staff Writer
Massage therapy students from Broadview University-Boise recently practiced their sports massage techniques at a wheelchair rugby tournament.
“This event was for players in specialized wheelchairs, but they did not have to be paralyzed,” explained Ken Cook, a massage therapy student. “Several players did have a spinal cord injury at one level or another, but many were friends, family, or care providers that wanted to support their family members or friends”
The students setup massage tables on the sidelines and provided massages to rugby players and their respective families before, during, and after the tournament’s matches.
“One of the players came over to my table and asked me to help warm him up before his game,” said Ken. “He preferred to stay in his chair while I worked on his arms. I was able to get the muscles warmed up and to allow for increased range of motion with decreased resistance in the shoulders.”
Their courtside location also gave them a great view of all the crashing wheelchairs.
“I really enjoyed the part where we actually got to watch the games and how each individual was performing despite having minimum to little sensation levels and had to compromise by using other muscles,” said massage therapy student Joe Wattanamongkolsiri.
“For example, there was one person who only used rotator cuffs to move around in the wheelchair. Just seeing the scapula and the muscles around that area move the way they did was really something to be seen,” he said.
For Joe’s classmate Manuel Monterrubio, the tournament gave him the opportunity to reconnect with quadriplegic rugby players that visited Broadview University-Boise for a massage clinic this past June.
“The day of the game, I was excited just to be there and be able recognize a few faces,” said Manuel. “My friend Steve was there, active, coaching, and bossing people of his team around. A high five from Steve, was all I needed to know that I was making a difference in the community.”