National Rehabilitation Hospital’s 9th Annual Sports Championships

by Alison O'Hanlon
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Paralympic Athletes Kerrie Leonard (Archery) and Britney Arendse (Para Powerlifting), both former patients of the National Rehabilitation Hospital returned to the NRH for the 9th Annual NRH Sports Championships.

The NRH Championships enable participants with Spinal Cord Injury, Acquired Brain Injury including Stroke, and Limb Absence to take part in a range of competitive events, and also to try out other sports that may interest them.

Pictured at the NRH Sports Championships Keelin Bergin, left aged 4, from Lucan Co. Dublin with Summer OÕMalley, aged 9, from Castlebar, Mayo.
Pic : Donall Farmer/Lorraine O’Sullivan Photography

This annual event, run by the NRH Sports and Exercise Physiotherapy, and Aquatic Physiotherapy Departments, continues to partner with external organisations such as the Irish Wheelchair Association, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Sports Partnership, Spinal Injuries Ireland, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Swim Ireland, Table Tennis Ireland, Tennis Ireland and Archery Ireland for this event.

These groups provide excellent opportunities for people of all abilities to begin or continue sports after their discharge from the NRH, that they may have been exposed to for the first time during their rehabilitation programme.

Head of Physiotherapy at the NRH, Rosie Kelly said “Sports activities are hugely beneficial for people as part of their rehabilitation programme – from the physical activity and general wellbeing aspect to the social side of sport and getting to meet people with similar interests.  the Annual Sports Championships here at the NRH are focused on patients’ abilities, and trying new activities that they may continue after leaving the NRH.”

Pictured at the NRH Sports Championships Paralympic archer Kerrie Leonard with Raymond Cejudo from Beaumont Dublin 9 Picture: Lorraine O’Sullivan Photography

The event was held over four days and over 90 patients participated in the wide range of sports available, whether competitively, or just to try them out. Some great role models who are past patients of the NRH and have gone on to become Paralympic athletes  include: Kerrie Leonard, Gary O’Reilly, Kate Kerr-Horan, Britney Arendse, Patrick Monahan and Colin Judge. 

Keith McConnon from Meath sustained a brain injury after a serious fall in 2019.  Speaking at the medals presentation ceremony, Keith said of this rehabilitation journey “People like us see the hard times.  People who know us see the miracle.”  Keith said “The Rehabilitative Training Unit (RTU) at the NRH, and the community organisations like Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and Headway are second to nothing in the work that they do. They are the reason I can be here speaking to you today.” 

Pictured at the NRH Sports Championships Paralympic powerlifter Britney Arendse with powerlifting coach Shannon Pollock Picture : Donall Farmer/Lorraine O’Sullivan Photography

NRH Chairman Kieran Fleck said “We congratulate all the patients who participated in the completions and tried out the many sports activities this week. This event is a prime opportunity to showcase our new world class sports & exercise facility, and aquatic physiotherapy pools to the fullest and encourage patients to participate in sport during their rehabilitation programme, and also in their community after discharge.”

Picture : Lorraine O’Sullivan Photography

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