News and Events

Sports Activities Hosted at The Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital

Publication Date: 11/22/2017

Action on Wheels: Special sports activities in the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital are the first step towards a healthy lifestyle for kids with disabilities.

Sports Activities Hosted at The Ruth Rappaport Children's HospitalSports Activities Hosted at The Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital

The outpatient clinics at the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital at Rambam Health Care Campus were shaking noisily in the morning when the space was converted into a sports compound full of wheelchairs and adrenalin. The event was an initiative of the Israeli National Paralympic Committee and the Israel Sports Association for the Disabled, in cooperation with the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital. The goal was to expose children in the process of rehabilitation to paralympic sports and thus help them transition from rehabilitation to athletics and even competitive sports.

Children with and without disabilities enjoyed the athletic activities; playing basketball, table tennis, and boccia (a game similar to bowling adapted for disabled people, particularly in the upper limbs) along with face painting and upbeat music.

Representatives of the Paralympic Committee attended the event, including athletes who presented and demonstrated the advantages of sports and the possibilities available to the participants.

For Karan Leibowitz Swat, who is responsible for coordinating the association's activity with hospitals and also serves as the coordinator of the swimming competitions, the activity at Rambam closed a circle. When Karan was 6 years old she became ill with cancer and was treated for many years in the children's hospital in the Division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology. Her struggle with the disease led to losing a leg, but she managed to overcome her difficulties and even became an athlete, representing Israel in swimming competitions around the world. "This event is first and foremost for the children," Leibowitz shared. "The encouragement of sports is important for its contribution but is also important for the soul, and especially helps children develop their independence; this is a good starting point. Through sports children can advance in many fields successfully throughout their lives.

"It is very exciting to see our children taking part in these activities," said Dr. Ronen Bar-Yosef, an expert in pediatric pulmonary diseases and head of the Children's Physical Activity and Exercise Clinic at the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital. Dr. Bar-Yosef explains, "Physical activity is experiential, encouraging healing as a type of medication, and in many cases may be even more effective in the long term with fewer side effects… We are already looking forward to the next sports day."

This exciting day brought together temporarily hospitalized children in various departments and children with disabilities in the most natural and comfortable way – through play and fun.

Photography courtesy of Rambam's Spokesperson's Office.