On Sept. 23, 2017, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital will present its 38th annual Wheelchair Games, a highlight of the season for wheelchair athletes of all ages and abilities, along with friends and families. The event is held on Burke’s picturesque campus (785 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains)—an idyllic environment for a day that personifies camaraderie and community spirit.
Burke’s Wheelchair Games provide physically challenged competitors with an opportunity to showcase abilities in a variety of track, field, basketball and table tennis events. One of the first events of its kind when introduced almost four decades ago, the Games have become a favorite tradition for both wheelchair athletes and the Westchester community.
“At the Wheelchair Games we offer an inclusive, supportive atmosphere that encourages participants of all ability levels to compete and have fun while boosting their self-confidence,” says Jeffrey Menkes, president & CEO of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. “This annual event is an inspiring, uplifting experience not just for the athletes, but for friends, family, and other members of the community who come to cheer them on.”
Beginning at 9:00 a.m., there will be field events, table tennis, and a slalom (obstacle) course. Track events start at 1:30 p.m. A new and highly anticipated event this year is the Basketball Free Throw Competition at 11:00 a.m.
The Wheelchair Games competitive categories include: a Futures Division (six and under); a separate Junior Division; Adult and separate Masters levels at age 35 and older, age 50 and older, and the senior Masters division at age 60+. Morning event winners will be awarded during lunchtime and track event winners will be awarded after all races have been completed.
According Richard Sgaglio, Ph.D., vice president at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, “While the Wheelchair Games are a competition, everyone truly comes away feeling like a winner. By demonstrating their resilience and endurance, all the athletes benefit greatly, as well as those of us who are motivated by their determination.”
Admission is free for spectators and the public is encouraged to attend. In addition to watching the exciting sports competitions, the Wheelchair Games will feature carnival games, musical entertainment, and raffles. The event is produced entirely by volunteers, including Burke employees along with community members from civic groups, schools, religious organizations, and other associations.