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FWATA ATs at 2015 Special Olympics

The 2015 Special Olympics World Games took place in sunny Los Angeles, CA from July 25th to August 2nd. California State University, Northridge athletic training students had the privilege of volunteering alongside Kaiser medical doctors and many allied health professionals in administering care to over 6,500 athletes representing 165 nations. Students assisted in covering the opening festival, tennis, track and field, softball, and soccer. Seeing the camaraderie between the athletes and how ecstatic they were to be playing a game they loved really resonated with the volunteers. Despite the language barriers and cultural differences their sports brought all these athletes together creating such a humbling experience.

As a senior in the Athletic Training Program at CSUN I got the privilege to be apart of the medical team at UCLA. I helped spectators and athletes when they first arrived, as well as being able to guide the EMT and Firefighters when it came to looking for who to talk to when an athlete and or patient didn’t speak English. I was scheduled for the festival prior to the games the first couple of days of the games As Los Angeles was a scorching ninety nine degrees and or higher we had a few senior citizens surprised by the heat. Not much action happened at spectator first aide, but I believe I got more out of being where I was stationed. I saw the excitement in all the athletes’ eyes. I remember seeing the athlete’s wave to me as if they were waving to a celebrity, wide eyed and full of excitement. I was shocked at first but remembering having the biggest smile on my face because I quickly realized that some of these athletes had never been to Los Angeles that they were excited to be apart of something big. As each country walked by into the festival for the first time me and my colleague for the weekend played a geographical game which was fun because we got to learn about new places around the world. As of my last day at the games I had worked softball at the UCLA Easton Stadium. Everyone from the coaches, policeman, spectators, umpires, where all filled with excitement as our Head of the Medical, Ryan Johnson was running around trying to make sure things where running smoothly. As we both stopped and watched one of the softball games USA vs. Mexico we saw how thrilled and talented each team had been. The over all experience was one I will never forget.” writes Kiani Reis

I got to work on the medical team with tennis athletes at the Special Olympics. As you would hope for a competition, there were not many injuries. But it was awesome to see the athletes in an environment that they felt truly comfortable in, playing a sport that they loved. There were 5 different levels of play that ranged from exceptional, high competition play, to competition with softer tennis balls for the more disabled. I think the most humbling part of this experience was to see the camaraderie between the athletes and how ecstatic the athletes were to be playing a game they loved. Despite the language barriers and cultural differences, tennis was a sport that brought all of these athletes, from over 140 countries, together. I think it was a great privilege to be apart of the Special Olympics World Games.” writes Kelia Barkow

“I consider myself to be truly lucky for having had the opportunity to volunteer at the special Olympics along side inspiring athletes from around the globe and a brilliant medical team. This experience not only humbled me but also increase my confidence as a future athlete trainer. I will cherish the presents each athlete gave me and the memories of this week end forever. I cannot wait to do it again in 4 years. My 2nd day.I did track and field at USC. I can’t recall all of them but the main ones was the 1500m, the relay and speed walking. My first day I had to get move bc they were short staffed at the La convention center so I covered badminton for a while and then powerlifting.” writes Claire Coudray

 

 

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