Debra Muller Price
All athletes benefit when a personal trainer helps them improve their performance. But imagine having dozens of professionals working together to assess your fitness level and help you achieve your personal best.
That was the scene this weekend at the FUNfitness area of Healthy Athletes. Inside a large room, athletes made their way through a series of stations offering free screenings to measure their flexibility, strength, balance, and aerobic fitness. Physical therapy students and professionals manned the stations and provided encouragement to athletes. Among the volunteers were students from the Blinn College Physical Therapist Assistant Program and the Hardin-Simmons University Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program.
“We enjoy coming out and being with the athletes,” said Cindy Adams, clinical advisor for the South Central Region FUNfitness program. “We do specific tests and measures to determine whether there are deficits in their flexibility, balance and functional strength. And we have added some new tests that have to do with endurance.”
At one end of the room, athletes did sit-ups on a padded mat, while at the other end they balanced on one leg or sat on tables to have students check the flexibility of hamstring, calf and shoulder rotator muscles. When they finished the circuit, athletes stopped at an education area where they received individualized advice on how to improve their fitness and a booklet containing suggested exercises.
As she watched her son Charles practice sit-ups, Bonnie Momentoff from Fort Worth said she appreciated how he benefits from the program. “He does lots of sports,” she said, “and this is a good check on his fitness each year.”
FUNfitness is a win-win situation for both the Special Olympics athletes and the students who participate in the event. “The students are getting a real good opportunity to actually work with people and a special population,” Adams said. “They actually get to do hands-on testing under the supervision of therapists.”