SRU recognizing Recreational Therapy Month, hosting Adaptive Sports Day, Feb. 19


Students playing wheelchair basketball

The Recreational Therapy Club at Slippery Rock University will host Adaptive Sports Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 19 at the Aebersold Recreational Center, which will include wheelchair basketball. strong>

Feb. 7, 2022

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — To commemorate February as International Recreational Therapy Month, Slippery Rock University will host an array of events dedicated to the subject.

"Recreational therapy is a combination of leisure and structure that aims to treat physical and mental disabilities for anyone in need," said Colleen Cooke, SRU professor of parks, conservation and recreational therapy. "We're excited about this month's activities, which we hope will spread the word about the program and its merits."



Students first gathered Feb. 1 in Patterson Hall for RT month's official kickoff. Cooke led a therapeutic drum circle, where students engaged in a variety of exercises intended to implore stress relief and relaxation.

Betsy Kemeny, associate professor of parks, conservation and recreational therapy, and RT program director, also hosted an animal-assisted interventions session alongside Deborah Hutchins, a retired faculty member in the department who was director of the therapeutic recreation program. Attendees learned about the various therapeutic uses for animals and got to see two registered service dogs, Miley and Hodge, in action.

The Recreational Therapy Club at SRU will host Adaptive Sports Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 19, at the Aebersold Recreational Center. The event aims to spread community awareness of RT as well as its viability as a treatment option. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in adaptive sports such as adaptive aquatics, blind soccer, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

A.J. Sumser, a SRU senior recreational therapy major from Avon, Ohio, expressed his enthusiasm for the event.

"This is an opportunity for everyone," said Sumser, who is the RT Club president. "We encourage students, no matter what their major is, and the community to get involved. Physically participating in the activities is a great way to learn, but people can also learn through observing. Adaptive Sports Day is inclusive of everyone."

According to organizers, the ARC is an advantageous location because it draws a crowd interested in athletics and other sports-related activities.

"We can invite people already there to join in with us after a basketball game or their workout," Sumser said. "People are excited to participate and engage with the community."

Frailey Scaife, a senior recreational therapy major from Kittanning, who is the RT club secretary, encourages anyone with an interest to come.

"Come in with an open mind" said Scaife "If you want to learn and want to try, then we will welcome you with open arms. We want to build a bigger, better community with people from all types of backgrounds."

The RT Club will additionally host a documentary viewing and panel discussion, 5 p.m., Feb. 8, in the Smith Student Center Theater, as well as student-led intervention sessions, 12:30 p.m., Feb. 24, in the RT lab, Patterson Hall, Room 342

More information about the RT Club and RT month events at SRU are available on CORE, SRU's online platform for student organizations and activities.

More information about SRU's recreational therapy academic program is available on the University website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Hillary Twiford | 724.738.4854 |