Wheelchair Rugby a Hit in Burbank

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Glen Gregos has been in a wheelchair his entire adult life and has always taken advantage of any opportunity he can get to participate in a sport.

Gregos, 65, a Burroughs High grad, is now getting something he has waited decades for.
The City of Burbank Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the Triumph Foundation, kicked off its wheelchair rugby program at McCambridge Park. The city is hoping to add more adaptive sports.

“Fifty years ago the disabled people didn’t have (this).  Now the kids can participate. They can feel like a normal person for the few hours they are out here,” said the 65-year-old Gregos. “To me, the next generation will be a lot different and have all of this offered throughout the city.”

Each and every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at McCambridge has now been designated as a time set aside wheelchair rugby. Burbank Parks and Recreation reached out to the Triumph Foundation and its founder and Executive Director Andrew Skinner.

Skinner, who has been in a wheelchair since a 2004 spinal cord injury, started the foundation in 2008 and has worked to give opportunities to disabled individuals a chance to play sports. He has been a part of the Northridge Knights, a wheelchair rugby team based in the San Fernando Valley, that has been sponsored by Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

“We used to have a weekly practice, but it has been closed since the Pandemic because we didn’t have a gymnasium,” Skinner said. Skinner said the Knights, which is a team of about 15 members, is now looking to call McCambridge its home. “The City of Burbank reached out to us about their desire to create activities for people with disabilities,” Skinner said. “Adaptive recreation and sports is important because it gives people an opportunity to push the limits of their ability.

The Knights have been successful enough to travel to a number of parts around the country to compete. “Our goal is to develop athletes to play on our team,” Skinner added. Burbank Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Diego Cevallos assured the participants that rugby is just the beginning. “This is not only going to be a one-day event, this is going to become a staple in Burbank as one of our drop-in programs,” Cevallos said.