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Findlay supports wheelchair rugby squad

About 18,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries each year. Other debilitating diseases like Bell’s palsy and multiple sclerosis can confine someone to a wheelchair. A sudden change in an individual’s mobility creates a range of additional issues. One common challenge is the emotional impact. Individuals may experience feelings of grief, frustration, anxiety and depression. Limited mobility may also lead to social isolation.

For individuals in this situation wheelchair rugby commonly known as “Murder Ball” can be an excellent therapeutic and recreational activity. It’s a fast-paced sport played by quadriplegics. There are elements of ice hockey, basketball and soccer. It is played on a traditional basketball court with a volleyball. Players use specialized wheelchairs, which are built for agility, stability and durability. These chairs have to be durable since players are allowed crash into one another at full speed.

Many Vegas residents are likely unaware that the city has a wheelchair rugby team dubbed Las Vegas High Rollers. Team member Mike Romanowski described some of the benefits of being a member of the team: physical fitness, social connections, emotional well-being and promoting inclusivity.

Romanowski pointed out that he has personally lost 15 pounds this year from playing wheelchair rugby. Findlay Automotive CFO Tyler Corder said, “We feel everyone needs a competitive outlet. There is also a lot of benefit that comes from being a part of a team. That’s why Findlay Automotive is proud to support the Las Vegas High Rollers.”

When describing the impact being a player on the High Rollers has had on his life, Romanowski’s teammate Bradley Boe said, “Simply put, prior to being a part of the High Rollers, I did not drive, I did not have a job or a degree, I thought being in a relationship wasn’t possible for me, and the thought of traveling was mortifying. The mentorship and motivation provided by fellow athletes enabled me to either gain or routinely perform all of those.”

The sport clearly has the power to transform lives as it has for Boe. One challenge is the cost of a specialized chair one needs to play the game. Each chair is custom-designed for the user and costs about $8,000. Boe said that the donation they received from Findlay Automotive will enable the team to provide a chair for a new team member at no cost.

Las Vegans interested in seeing the High Rollers in action are invited to attend the Vegas Vengeance Wheelchair Rugby Tournament. Teams from places as far as Seattle, Washington, and North Carolina will participate in the tournament, which will be held at Dula Gymnasium, 451 E. Bonanza Road, on Jan. 26-28. If you’d like to watch, volunteer, participate or donate to the team you can email bradley@hrasf.org, go to the team website at www.hrasf.org or follow the team on Facebook www.facebook.com/vegasquadrugby.

Findlay Automotive began with one dealership in Las Vegas in 1961. Since that time, the organization has grown to 35 locations in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Washington. Find your next car at www.FindlayAuto.com.

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