Logan University has grown its involvement over the years with the Paralympic and adapted sports movement and recently created the Paralympic Operations Department (POD), dedicated solely to this involvement.
A year into the POD’s inception, the department has made staffing changes and created its four-year Strategic Plan to set the stage to become a leader in the Paralympic and adapted sport movement.
Executive Director of Paralympic Operations Kelley Humphries, DC, MS, EMT-P, CSCS, ICCSP, CCSP believes that by fusing Logan with these movements, the university will be able to not only diversify its reach but also become a model for other health science education institutions.
“We are excited to be a member of the Logan community, and we’re looking forward to solidifying Logan’s place in the Paralympic movement over the next four years,” Dr. Humphries said. “The resources Logan has are abundant, and we want to be a beacon of Logan’s vision and values.”
The plan focuses on administration and operational goals, sport specific goals, key areas of interest and constituent experiences from 2021-2024.
“Looking toward 2024, we want to leave our mark and expose a more diverse population to adaptive sports and activity,” Dr. Humphries said.
As part of the 2024 initiative, POD has introduced a new team and has made several staffing changes, to support the current sport managed and governed by the department and establish a support structure that will elevate the high-performance outcomes for current and future sports. Theses staffing changes include:
- Mary Hodge – High Performance Manager for USA Para Powerlifting
- Butch Schovanec – Head Coach for USA Para Powerlifting
- Caitlin Brown – Assistant Head Coach for USA Para Powerlifting
- John Gaglione – Head Trainer for USA Para Powerlifting
- Jessica Stapleton, PhD – Mental Performance Coach
- Melissa Engelson, DC, MS, CCSP, DACBSP, DHPE – Paralympic Medical Advisor
- Theresa DeLorenzo, DCN, RD – Sport Performance Nutritional Coach
These changes reflect the department’s commitment to providing Logan faculty and staff diverse and unique professional work opportunities, as some of the new staff members are current Logan faculty and staff members. For example, Drs. Engelson and DeLorenzo will fulfill these POD roles in addition to their existing roles of DCP educational administrator and program director for the Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance, respectively. Mary Hodge is transitioning from a part time staff member to into her new fulltime role within the department.
“There’s an opportunity here for Logan to establish a place within the adaptive sport and activity world as a leader for holistic high-performance services for a vastly underserved population,” Dr. Humphries said. “When you combine the power of Logan and the spirit of the Paralympic and adapted sports movement, the possibilities are endless.”
This plan will benefit Logan students, who will be able to gain new internship opportunities and clinical experience, and it will also benefit athletes in that they will not only receive the highest level of holistic high-performance services but will also have access to academic opportunities during and/or after their sports career.
“This partnership opens our athletes up to a new world of possibilities that are often overlooked during the athlete’s competitive years. By exposing our athletes to what Logan provides to all of its students, they will feel that anything is possible even when their time on the competition stage comes to an end, This furthers our effort of creating high-performance services that are truly holistic in nature,” Dr. Humphries said.
The POD’s four-year plan also includes acquiring more adaptive sports to grow the program beyond the solid foundation they have already created.
“USA Powerlifting is our flagship sport and it will always be the sport that helped us create our identity. This will not be forgotten or overlooked as we look to become a multi-sport organization by the end of the next quad,” Dr. Humphries said.
Dr. Humphries is optimistic for the next four years and the joint benefits Logan and the Paralympic and adapted sport movements will receive as a result of their partnership.
“Our athletes have shown leaps and bounds of improvement over the last year, and they respond so well to having a full team and community behind them,” Dr. Humphries said. “There are so many opportunities, and this is truly a perfect marriage.”