More than 40 students from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program took to the water on June 18 to help provide a unique surfing experience for athletes with spinal cord injuries at the Life Rolls On Surf New Jersey annual event at Wildwood Crest.
The athletes, between the ages of 5 and 70 years old, suffer from a congenital spinal cord disease or have had a traumatic spinal cord injury. The students assisted athletes onto surfboards, helped guide them into the surf, and ensured that they stayed on their board. In addition to volunteering, the students raised $340 in donations for Life Rolls On through the PT Olympics.
“This is such an important event because it gives those affected by spinal cord injuries or diseases the chance to get out and feel free while surfing,” said David Blum ’18DPT, who co-organized the Arcadia volunteers. “It shows both the surfers and the volunteers that anything is possible with hard work and help from friends. It shows that even after a spinal cord injury, you can still live life to the fullest. This one of the best things I have ever done.”
While this is the first time many of the students have participated in Life Rolls On, Blum was a volunteer last year; fellow co-organizer Matt Will ’18DPT has volunteered for the past three years. However, all of the students said they plan to volunteer in the future.
“This type of event is the reason why we got into the Physical Therapy profession,” said Will. “We work so hard on a daily basis in the clinic rehabbing our patients and getting them back into the community. This event is a way for us to further improve the quality of life for these individuals.”