Kristi's Kids

Apr 17, 2013 1:00 AM

Wheelchair sports rolls out to Kristi's Kids

TUCSON - There are all kinds of options for kids to get exercise but what about children with physical disabilities? Kids who can't walk let alone play on a team?

Kristi's Kids learned about a place just for them. It's a program called Juniors Active in Wheelchair Sports or JAWS.

Shane Rodabaugh is 15-years-old. He makes it to JAWS every Saturday. For Shane this is much more than a tough work out

"It gives you support because you know there's other people out there that actually do this."

Anyone with a mobility problem can wheel on in.

"We play all kinds of different sports; basket ball, floor hockey, baseball. Anything we can do to get the kids up and active," says Peter Hughes, JAWS Coordinator.

James Armijo is also 15. He's been coming for three years.

"It's friendly. It's outgoing."

James can walk on his own, but running is hard. And most gym equipment won't work for him.
In a wheel chair, he finds all the exercise he needs.

Volunteers are critical in keeping this program rolling. Students from the University of Arizona College of Medicine lend a hand.

Tiffany Sun, a first year medical student, says helping out in JAWS helps her understand compassion.

"Their emotions. You're able to absorb that in a way, better than you would in like a two minute clinic setting."

Chris Wu is also a first year medical student. He tells us it helps him understand patient diversity. He never tried a wheelchair until JAWS. Now?

"I've been in multiple types of chairs and they kind of feel a little different. So I can see how that translates to everyday life for sure."

James just loves getting to know the med students. He hopes others will join the club.

"Come try it. I'm mean it's fun. It's outgoing. It's not like a gym that its an exercise routine. No as you see, we do different things every week."

Tucson Parks and Rec is an important partner for JAWS.

They have enough volunteers and there are several empty wheelchairs so there's plenty of room for more. The program is free and open to anyone. Click here for more information to get involved.

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