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Queen's lecture focuses on athletic ability

Andrea Andrecyk (left) instructs Occupational Therapy Masters candidate, Tina 
Siemens, on using adapted skis.

By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer

For the fifth year in a row, the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice (OIPEP) hosted the Sports and Athletes with a Disability forum in collaboration with the Schools of Rehabilitation Therapy and Kinesiology & Health Studies.

There were over 200 students from the kinesiology, occupational therapy, physical education and physical therapy programs in attendance. The interactive presentation and discussion gave students information from athletes and professionals in the field, inspiring them to get more involved in sport on a professional or volunteer basis.

“Students learn about disability, but this lecture gives them the chance to hear about athletes with a disability from first person and multiple perspectives” says Anne O’Riordan, clinical educator for OIPEP and lecturer in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

Panelists this year included three time World Disabled Water-Ski Championship bronze medalist Andrea Andrecyk, Beijing 2008 Paralympic rowing coach and occupational therapist Shannon Harvey and International Paralympic Committee advisor Colin Higgs.

Ms. Andrecyk, a wheelchair user since the age of twelve, brought her adapted equipment for Alpine, Nordic and water skiing for students to try. Andrea’s motto, “If you can’t stand UP, stand OUT”, drives her to participate in diverse athletic endeavours.

After working at the Paralympic and local level in Calgary, Shannon Harvey (Occupational Therapy ‘06) was able to discuss how students might get involved in working with athletes with a disability and Paralympic sports.

“I’m excited to return to Queen’s to share my experiences from para-rowing with the students,” says Ms. Harvey.

Dr. Higgs, currently teaching in Azerbaijan, gave his presentation remotely and discussed the controversial topic of boosting, or autonomic dysreflexia, which some athletes at the elite level use to improve their performance.

The forum also provided students the opportunity to learn more about how interprofessional career paths work together in the world of sport, emphasizing collaboration with athletes and innovators.

OIPEP received a great deal of positive student feedback. Students shared: “I enjoyed the different perspectives of the athlete, coach and educator.” “It was very eye opening and interesting especially related to my future career interests.” “Thanks for this amazing experience.”

For more information on OIPEP, follow this link.