NYIT physical therapy students volunteered their skills to world-class athletes at the Yonex U.S. Badminton Open, June 16-21 at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, N.Y. The tournament was a qualifying event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Twelve students and three faculty members answered the call when the tournament’s organizers requested volunteers several months ago. Approximately 285 players representing 30 countries competed for prizes totaling $120,000.
“The tournament allowed NYIT to showcase our highly successful, accredited D.P.T. (Doctor of Physical Therapy) program and faculty and students, and provided great exposure for the field of physical therapy in a unique setting,” said Department Chair Karen Friel, who accompanied the students with Assistant Professor Teri Ingenito and Associate Professor Veronica Southard. “Students had the opportunity to practice clinical skills learned in the classroom on a multicultural athletic population and honed the communication and delivery skills required in a dynamic and diverse fast-paced environment.”
Several students shared insights on putting their physical therapy skills to the test with top athletes from around the world.
“I am a student who has been extensively studying the human body in every way; how it moves, how it functions, the limits that it can be pushed to, and how to build it back up when it’s been pushed too far,” said Jessica Bart, who is entering her second year in NYIT’s D.P.T. program. “I had the chance to be involved with a population of athletes that I’ve never worked with before.”
As athletes prepared for their matches, NYIT students and faculty members provided assistance with stretching, application of heat, and athletic taping. Friel said the most common injuries for badminton players were upper body sprains and strains, ankle injuries, and back strains. The sport is a far cry from what some believe is a lazy backyard game. Competitive badminton is played on a 44-by-17-foot court, and the shuttlecock can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour as players hit overhead smashes, kills, and improbable hairpin shots that clear the net and drop sharply.
A few students said their own athletic experiences helped them to understand the mindset of badminton players and their physical needs.
“Each sport is different and in the physical therapy world that means various types of injuries for each sport,” said second-year student Peter Romagnuolo. “I gained experience in what to do and how to treat badminton athletes as well as athletes in general.”