PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Students at the University of New England are learning a new sport to help them become better occupational therapists.
Four hours playing Quad Rugby, also known as Wheelchair Rugby, with the Northeast Passage Wildcats teaches the students things books never could. It's a hands on, hard hitting way to look at life through the eyes of future clients with physical challenges.
"I put it on them to put us in the client role and them in the teaching role so we get a feel of what it's like to be in their shoes," says UNE student and organizer Sidney Bast.
They're building trust and understanding while breathing hard and bumping each other around.
"It's a way for me to think creatively about opportunities I can give to my clients because I didn't even know this existed," says Julia Velmer, also a student.
Even though the score was lopsided in Tuesday's game, the partnership is a win-win situation. The future occupational therapists can recommend the sport, which helps the team attract new players. The Wildcats' goal is to show that physical challenges don't stop you from having fun, making new friends and living your life to the fullest.
"Even if you're not passionate about the sport, you are going to be around guys who have been through everything you can imagine," says Billy Bouffard od the Wildcats. "We'll share ideas and experiences, welcome you into the fold and make you feel comfortable."