Dodger Stadium. Photo by John Schreiber.
Dodger Stadium. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will recognize Cal State Northridge physical therapy students who are recipients of a scholarship named in honor of the late Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella and his wife before Wednesday night’s game at Dodger Stadium.

The Roy and Roxie Campanella Scholarship program provides financial assistance to students in Northridge’s physical therapy doctoral program.

Support from the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will allow the number of scholarships to increase by 10 to 25 by the fall of 2017.

Campanella played for the Dodgers from 1948-57. He was the fourth black to play in the major leagues in the 20th century and the first catcher. He was an eight-time all-star and selected as the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1951, 1953 and 1955. He was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1969.

An automobile accident in 1958 left him a quadriplegic. Though he would be wheelchair bound until his death in 1993, work with physical therapists allowed Campanella to become an active member of the Dodgers community relations department and a spring training catching instructor.

“It’s wonderful to know that we’ve got great physical therapists who are going to be going out and helping people who have disabilities, who will be working with people like my father, and how they made such a difference in his life in terms of the immediate relationship of helping him find his spirit again and wanting to live,” Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella-Roan, said earlier this year.

“It’s always inspiring to hear their stories and how much us giving them this wonderful scholarship impacts their lives, so that they can get out there and make a difference within the community, help to bring back people’s independence and make themselves self-sufficient. That was a major part of what made my father re-enter society and re-enter baseball — the independence he gained from the physical therapists.”

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