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The Transformative Impact of the Wheelchair Sports Program at Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

Breaking Barriers & Building Community

At Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation Hospital – Center City, individuals with disabilities discover a uniquely impactful avenue for physical activity and empowerment through the Wheelchair Sports Program. Beyond the athletic competition, these programs serve a crucial role in fostering a sense of community and breaking down social barriers. The impact is tangible, demonstrating that wheelchair sports are not merely recreational—but also transformative—providing participants with a platform to redefine their abilities and defy societal limitations.

This past November, a week after competing in the Beast of the East Rugby Tournament, Patrick McCloskey completed his first-ever full marathon at the Philadelphia Marathon. In December, the Jefferson Moss-Magee 76ers basketball team finished in secondplace at the annual Dan Sullivan Wheelchair Basketball Classic. In March, we joined the Jeff Harris Curl-A-Thon, where our wheelchair athletes won two out of three matches. In May, the Jefferson Moss-Magee Eagles rugby team finished third at the National Tournament in the Third Division. To cap off a successful year, the Jefferson Moss-Magee Eagles rugby team was awarded the “United States Wheelchair Rugby Association Event of the Year,” for their Beast of the East Tournament.

Philanthropy plays a pivotal role in enabling athletes with disabilities to actively engage in wheelchair sports programs at Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation Hospital. Many individuals with disabilities face financial barriers to accessing these resources. Philanthropy bridges this gap by funding initiatives that make wheelchair sports accessible to a broader range of participants. Your support ensures that the Wheelchair Sports Program at Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation Hospital will continue to thrive, offering opportunities for physical activity, skill development, and personal empowerment.

“These tournaments allow us to transcend our disabilities,” shared Benjamin Baker, a Jefferson Moss-Magee Eagles rugby player living with a spinal cord injury. “When we’re on the court, we’re just athletes playing the game we love.” Baker’s injury occurred 18 years ago after a fall, placing him in a wheelchair. However, he found his way back to competition through the thrilling and fast-paced world of wheelchair rugby.“Anyone who experiences a life-altering injury can still lead an active and fulfilling life,” stated Keith Newerla, Community Program Coordinator at Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation Hospital. “These tournaments exemplify how we can adapt and achieve, even when faced with challenging circumstances.” Congratulations to all of our wheelchair athletes on a successful year!

On July 29, we will host the 11th Annual Tennis Benefit at Germantown Cricket Club to support the Wheelchair Sports Program. A match between some of our wheelchair tennis athletes will kick off the event. If you would like to support or participate in the event, please email giving@mageerehab.org.

The Wheelchair Sports Program is open to the entire community of individuals with disabilities. Participants do not have to be a patient of Jefferson Moss-Magee Rehabilitation Hospital to join a team.