People with Disabilities React to Mercyhurst Student-Athlete Pushing Wheelchair Down Set of Stairs
"My heart stopped," Shona Eakin, CEO of Voices for Independence, said.
"My first, initial reaction was just shocked," Waynesburg University student Darrion Allensworth said.
The reactions by these wheelchair users were in response to the Carson Briere incident, where Briere, a student-athlete at Mercyhurst University, allegedly shoved an unoccupied wheelchair down a set of stairs at a local establishment.
"Thank God no one was in the chair," Eakin said. "But then the secondary thought was, 'Will this individual will be able to use their wheelchair?'"
Allensworth is a junior at Waynesburg, located south of the city of Pittsburgh.
Allensworth also plays sled hockey, plus he has to navigate around campus in his chair.
"It's our mobility. It's our freedom. It's our independence," Allensworth said. "Without it, we're not able to go do everything."
Eakin and Allensworth both heavily expressed that the costs to repair a wheelchair are not cheap.
"The wheelchair that I'm sitting in right now is about $30,000," Eakin said.
Allensworth, however, explained that even though the situation was unacceptable, awareness can grow out of this situation.
"It's unfortunate to see but kind of good in a way of how big it's gotten," Allensworth said. "You should just treat others how you would want to be treated."