A.I. duPont Hospital to host competitive Boccia
By Sean Greene

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VIDEO: A.I. duPont's first Boccia 'Open House'

The spirit of competition is coming to the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children this fall as they look to open a new boccia league.

Boccia is an international Paralympic sport based off of the popular backyard game Bocce. In Boccia, athletes can use their hands, feet, head, or other assistive device to throw or roll their ball at a target object, known as a "jack" on the court.

The game was introduced at the New York 1984 Paralympic Games as a competitive sport. It was originally designed for players with cerebral palsy, but now participants come in all forms including those in wheelchairs and with neurological impairments.

Brie Sheppard, a Physical Therapist at the hospital, says the simplicity of the sport makes it easy to adjust based upon the abilities of the individual players.

"It can be adapted to any ability level. You can play it with a ramp, an assistant, or totally independently. It works great for a population that it can be customized to each kid."

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One of Tuesday's players was Shane Turulski of Newark. It took him less than 2 hours to get a feel for the game, and says it fed his competitive side.

"I like the activity of being able have fun playing with other people, and having to be competitive with trying to hit the (target) ball, and hit Mr. Bill (a trainer)."

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A.I. duPont's goal is to form a league for players of all abilities between ages 8-21 this fall. They will hold a 2nd open house Wednesday night at 6pm at the Center of Sports Medicine on the ground floor.



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