HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi
Students from The University of Southern Mississippi's School of Kinesiology volunteered Sept. 19 at the Hub City Special Olympics held at Hattiesburg High School.
More than 100 athletes with special needs competed in bocce ball, cheerleading, flag football, horseshoes and softball. Therapeutic recreation students assisted participants as they progressed through the events, athletic training students provided medical coverage, and physical education students helped with logistics and encouraged athletes.
"It is important for students to get involved with the community, especially when a hands on teaching experience is available," said Megan Marlowe, instructor of recreation. "Opportunities like this are valuable as well as rewarding."
Dr. Chris Brown, clinical education coordinator and assistant professor of athletic training agreed, saying it's important for students to understand that apart from their job, athletic training professionals can serve their community. "We want our students to experience what giving back can mean to them in a medical, professional, and personal sense," he said.
"Since I teach KIN 401 Corrective and Adaptive Physical Education, it is important that my students have an opportunity to work with students with special needs," said Dr. Robert Doan, assistant professor of physical education. "Many programs across the country teach this course without field experiences."
Katie Allen, senior athletic training major, volunteered because she felt called to serve and share her skills with the community. "Events like this are important to show the world that having a disability does not keep you from accomplishing things you dream of doing," she said. "As a whole, we should not put a negative connotation with the word disability."
Krishanna Johnson, also a senior athletic training major, said she helped athletes with heat related injuries and muscle cramps. "I volunteered because I feel that we should always help our community in any way possible," she said. "These events support the athletes and gives them memories they'll hold on to for the rest of their lives."
Casey Knight, senior therapeutic recreation major, was impressed by the support provided by the Hattiesburg community to facilitate the event. "The smiles of each participant in the Special Olympics combined with the smiles of each volunteer, whether they were in therapeutic recreation or not, warmed every fiber of my being," she said.
For more information about the School of Kinesiology in The University of Southern Mississippi's College of Health, visit www.usm.edu/kin.