Ten years after becoming the first catcher of color in Major League Baseball, Roy Campanella — Brooklyn Dodger and future Hall of Famer — was injured in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
Roxie Doles (later Campanella) served as his nurse and was his best friend and wife for the three decades. Roxie encouraged the Dodger great to seek physical therapy to help him with his motor skills, and this treatment proved to be monumental for Roy.
The tremendous impact physical therapy had on the the only Dodger to win three National League Most Valuable Player Awards and his family led the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation to provide scholarships for California State University, Northridge’s Department of Physical Therapy students, for the renowned Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.
In 2009, the Campanella Foundation joined forces with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation so the scholarships could serve more students. Each year, the scholarship cohort has grown, expanding to 25 scholars during the 2017-18 academic year.
The 25 scholarship recipients were honored on the field at Dodger Stadium on April 24, before the Dodgers took on the Marlins. Nelly Geronimo, a third-year DPT student, said the scholarship validated all of her hard work.
“Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me,” Geronimo said. “We don’t get a lot of [financial aid] opportunities, so I’m really thankful to be here.”
Antonio Hanlin Feng, a first-year student and the only international student currently enrolled in the DPT program, shared Geronimo’s excitement during his first visit to Dodger Stadium.
“This is my first time here, so I’m very, very excited and I feel so special,” Feng said. “It’s really not just about the money — it’s about this honor that’s once per lifetime, to be able to be here with my classmates and the faculty. I’m very proud.”
For more information about the Campanella/Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Scholarship, please visit https://www.csun.edu/health-human-development/physical-therapy/campanelladodger-dream-foundation-scholarships.