Southern California

Wheelchair Sports Festival Raises Awareness of People Living With Spinal Cord Injuries

Competition was in the air as participants in wheelchairs pushed themselves to their limits during the Wheelchair Sports Festival in Santa Clarita to raise awareness of the lifestyles of people living with spinal cord injuries.

The festival, held Saturday and Sunday, was hosted by the Triumph Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to support and inspire people with disabilities.

The all-inclusive event gave members of the community the opportunity to participate in 10 adapted recreational sports, including wheelchair hockey, basketball, quad rugby, adapted scuba and even wheelchair motocross.

"You don't even need to own your own equipment, you don't need to know how to play the games, you don't even need to have a disability. The whole community comes together to play together," said Andrew Skinner, founder and director of the Triumph Foundation.

The event provides learning opportunities to the general public and showcases people living with disabilities in a way that members of the community do not often see, Skinner said.

"It also pushes the limits of everyone's ability, making them appreciate the capability that everybody has," said Skinner, who suffered a spinal cord injury after a snowboarding accident in 2004.

Currently, the Triumph Foundation has helped over 2,000 people with disabilities by providing $100,000 in assistance to those with inadequate medical insurance, performing home modifications to make them more wheelchair accessible and making regular visits to area hospitals and rehabilitation centers across Southern California.

For more information, visit the Triumph Foundation website.

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