UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For more than a decade, Allan McLeod has traveled here to speak to Penn State students about his experiences using a motorized wheelchair and the role leisure has played in his life.
“The main reason I come back, is that by doing so, it affords me the opportunity to show by my actions and explain through my story, that persons with a disability such as a spinal cord injury (SCI) and especially a high-level SCI resulting in tetraplegia, can and do have meaningful, productive, satisfying, fun and happy lives, both on personal and professional levels,” McLeod said.
This spring, McLeod, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and chief compliance officer at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, returned for his final visit before his retirement. He was joined by Jeff Sanders, a 2016 Penn State graduate who underwent a leg amputation while serving as a U.S. Marine in Iraq.
The pair shared their experiences with students enrolled in Inclusive Leisure Services, RPTM 277, which focuses on leisure services for people from underrepresented groups and related professional, legal and ethical issues. John Dattilo, professor of recreation, park and tourism management, instructs the course.
“I felt that I could be a visual reinforcement to the message that John was trying to teach his students,” Sanders said. “It can be difficult to understand someone else's misfortune by only hearing about it, but when you actually see it, and see what they overcome daily, it becomes much clearer.”