FWATA ATs Participate in the 15th Annual Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea
Two Far West athletic trainers had the unique opportunity to serve as athletic trainers for the 15th Annual Pacific Games held in Papua New Guinea from July 6-18th.American Samoa’s lone athletic trainer Florence Wasko is also an athlete competing in the games and wanted to have athletic training coverage available to team American Samoa for the first time.
Rick Martinez from California and Amy Shirk from Hawaii were chosen to travel with the delegation from American Samoa and provide athletic training care for the more than 100 athletes participating. Team American Samoa had athletes participating in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s beach and indoor volleyball, boxing, weightlifting, body building, swimming and tennis. They were able to not only cover a wide variety of athletes, but also meet and network with physio therapists from all over the South Pacific.
Some unique challenges arose as this was the first time athletic trainers had traveled with the delegation and no one was quite sure what to expect going in to the games. Rick and Amy found ways to create an athletic training facility in a foreign country with limited supplies while living in the athletes’ village for the duration of the games.
Overall the trip was a unique and memorable experience. They were able to promote athletic training in a community that has had limited access to athletic training services and create some valuable personal and professional contacts. It is the hope of all involved that athletic training personnel will be able to be a part of team American Samoa in future games. Thanks to the work and vision of Florence Wasko for the unique opportunity.
Florence Wasko: “This will be my 4th Pacific Games participating as an athlete representing American Samoa. There are about 5,000 athletes from countries all over the Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand. The Pacific Games occur every 4 years and the next one will be held in Tonga.
We have about 100 athletes competing for American Samoa and I was looking for 2 ATCS to provide medical coverage. This was a volunteer position with airfare, accommodation, and all meals paid for. Before the Pacific Games, the 2 chosen ATCs also participated in a Sports Medicine Seminar that was sponsored by the American Samoa National Olympic Committee, in which I chair the Medical Commission. We presented to about 50 coaches, athletes, and EMS personnel. Troy Polamalu was a guest speaker as well at the seminar.”
Courtesy of Amy Shirk and Florence Wasko