The College of Health and Human Development at California State University, Northridge brought students and faculty from the Departments of Physical Therapy, Kinesiology and Family and Consumer Sciences together with members of the Northridge community March 19 for the second annual Exercise Community Living in Prosthetics and Supporting Everyone (ECLIPSE) symposium.
CSUN physical therapy faculty member Victoria Graham established the event in 2015 to provide education, collaboration, networking and support to people with limb loss.
“Losing your leg is most commonly due to complications from diabetes,” Graham said. “We know people who have diabetes and lose a leg have a hard time finding resources, so bringing together clinicians to meet the needs of this population was the driving force behind this event.”
The symposium began in Jacaranda Hall, where third-year physical therapy students led patients in stretching and mobility classes while Graham led a balance and strengthening course.
One of the biggest takeaways for Armando Ayala ’15 (Kinesiology) was being able to meet and network with fellow limb-loss patients.
“I was able to sit in on peer groups, which showed amputees what resources are available and how we can get involved with other amputees,” Ayala said. “Most amputees don’t get to interact with each other, but the class let everyone know that we’re not alone and that there’s a lot more people out there to interact with.”
After lunch, patients practiced running and walking up curbs, stairs and ramps on the campus’ North Field.
For CSUN physical therapy student Ashley Peña, the event was a great opportunity to show the community what she’s learned in the classroom.
“A lot of our classes are geared toward not only teaching patients skills such as balance, but also showing how we can be there emotionally for them as well,” Peña said.
Peña, who is in her second year of the physical therapy doctorate program, was one of 15 CSUN physical therapy students awarded a scholarship through a partnership between the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation. Campanella, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, became a quadriplegic after a devastating car accident in 1958.
“It’s great being able to help people going through transitions in life like Roy Campanella, who went through a huge transition,” Peña said. “Although he was in a wheelchair [after the accident], he was still able to get back to performing in society.”
For more information, visit the ECLIPSE website.