Magee Eagles athletes showcase their abilities in wheelchair rugby tournament

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Sunday, November 12, 2023
Magee Eagles athletes compete in annual wheelchair rugby tournament
Benjamin Baker lives with a spinal cord injury and perseveres through that disability in wheelchair rugby.

WEST DEPTFORD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- These athletes are showcasing their abilities while persevering through their disability.

Jefferson Moss-Magee's Beast of the East wheelchair rugby tournament was held with the Magee Eagles competing.

"I think it allows us to feel like we're not disabled...When we get out here and we're playing...we're just playing the sport that we love," said Benjamin Baker.

Benjamin Baker is an athlete on the Magee Eagles who lives with a spinal cord injury.

His injury happened eighteen years ago after falling on the steps and he lives utilizing a wheelchair.

"It was the first time I felt like I stood out even though I was sitting down," said Baker.

Through rehabilitation, he discovered a way to still compete in sports with wheelchair rugby.

"It's four on four on a basketball court, full chair to chair contact...We carry the ball on our laps...our wheels, they're an angle. They give us a little bit wider of a base and a little bit more maneuverability," said Baker.

The tournament, as well as the sport in general provides the athletes with a sense of normalcy.

"Anybody who goes through an injury that ends up with a long term or permanent disability can do the same stuff as everybody else, but we just have to do it a little bit differently. And this tournament is an example of that," said Moss-Magee Community Program Coordinator Keith Newerla.

Baker feels that the experience of competing within this community has helped his journey of recovery.

"We're able to help expand each other's views, and understand what we're all capable of and push each other. We love it, we live for it," said Baker.

For more information on the Magee Eagles, check out Jefferson Moss-Magee.