More than a dozen athletes, coaches and families gathered this weekend for Logan’s first training camp as the new home for USA Para Powerlifting.
The athletes are preparing for upcoming national and world competitions with the ultimate goal of earning a spot on the Paralympic Team.
“As a kid, I always watched the Olympics and wanted to compete,” said Chelsi Figley, past National team member from Columbiana, Ohio. “I didn’t even know about the Paralympics until my mid 20s, and when I heard they had bench press, I thought, ‘I’m pretty good at that.’”
Chelsi officially got involved in para powerlifting in June 2009. She has qualified for World Paralympic Championships in the past and is hoping to make her first Olympic appearance at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Toyko.
During the competition, Chelsi said mentally, she felt better than usual. “I felt really prepared going in and I think part of that was just knowing what to expect,” she said. “We’ve been communicated with a lot prior to our arrival and everything has been running very smooth. I’m really looking forward to returning to Logan for more tournaments and training.”
David Parish, DC, MS, CSCS, DACBSP, ICCSP, associate dean of clinical care, director of the Master of Science in Sports Science and Rehabilitation program and high performance coach for the USA Para Powerlifting Team, was instrumental in securing Logan as the home of USA Para Powerlifting.
He, along with Logan’s Human Performance Center staff, helped arrange on-site chiropractic treatment from Logan residents and body composition analysis, something the athletes have never had access to during a training camp.
“We’ve also set up Skype presentations from the United States Olympic Committee on nutrition and sports psychology,” said Dr. Parish. “It’s been a huge team effort and everyone has done a phenomenal job. It is my goal to make the athletes better and stronger and to be the premiere team at the Paralympics."
Eric Park, PhD, instructor in Logan’s Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance program, was running the DEXA machine to give athletes an idea of how they can improve their diet and optimize performance during competition. “We were looking at their muscle versus fat, but we’ll be following them, gathering data and making recommendations.”
That kind of service, says Mary Hodge, CPT, MS, high performance manager for the USA Para Powerlifting Team, is what has made the training camp a success. “It’s amazing to work with knowledgeable people who have the athlete’s best interests, physically and professionally as far as sports, in mind.”