OT Students Shoot for Understanding with Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

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April 21, 2023 | Downers Grove, IL

Occupational Therapy students hosted a wheelchair basketball tournament on the Downers Grove Campus of Midwestern University.

Midwestern University’s Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) coordinated the successful return of the Wheelchair Basketball Tournament on the Downers Grove Campus. This year marked the first tip-off of the tournament since 2019 and provides Occupational Therapy (OT) students and other Midwestern University students with valuable insight into the lives of future clients. All proceeds from the event benefit Synergy Adaptive Athletics, a local nonprofit organization that provides recreational sports opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities in DuPage County.

As future OT practitioners, we realize the importance of engaging in meaningful occupations. Synergy Adaptive Athletics is a program that enables individuals with disabilities to participate in meaningful occupations, such as sports,” said Courtney Bland (OT Class of 2025), president of the SOTA chapter on the Downers Grove Campus and one of the organizers of the event. “Participating in this event puts us in the shoes of individuals who are impacted by their physical disabilities. Thus, building compassion, empathy, and understanding for the future clients that we will serve,” she added.

Student teams played in specialized wheelchairs to gain a better understanding of the challenges and physical demands people with disabilities face on a daily basis. “Wheelchair basketball definitely requires more strategy than I imagined. The games were 3v3 or 4v4 which meant there was a lot of passing and teamwork involved. There is also strategy that goes into maneuvering the wheelchair such as turning and building momentum,” said Sam Dooley, an occupational therapy student at Midwestern University.

The event will return next year and raised nearly $1,500 to help Synergy Adaptive Athletics with their travel and equipment costs. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.) degree program at Midwestern University provides students with the experiences they need to become successful practitioners ready to improve the daily lives of patients through responsive, compassionate, and evidence-based treatments.