Physical Therapy Students Make A Difference in the Lives of Special Athletes

Department of Physical Therapy students volunteer their skills at the 2016 Special Olympics Ontario FUNfitness Screening.

On June 2, 2016, Special Olympics Ontario hosted a FUNfitness screening program, providing Special Olympic athletes an opportunity to assess their flexibility, balance, strength and cardiovascular fitness. Held in the Kinesiology laboratory at University of Ontario Institute of Technology, the screening was conducted by volunteer physiotherapists, physiotherapy assistants, kinesiologists, and physiotherapy and kinesiology students.

A runner massages her sore ankle.

11 University of Toronto Physical Therapy students, including Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging (OIEPB) Program graduates, shared their clinical skills to assess the athletes. Services included measuring range of movement, strength testing, balance assessment, and aerobic fitness testing.


These volunteers also taught stretching and strengthening exercises to help the athletes improve their fitness, educating the participants, their families and coaches about the importance of flexibility, strength, balance, and aerobic conditioning.

“This was an excellent opportunity for our special athletes to learn about the value of physical therapy, while honing our skills as clinicians” says volunteer and OIEPB graduate Rodolfo Jr Lastimosa. “I take pride that we helped them experience the excitement and personal fulfillment associated with participating in sport. I feel we made a small difference in the lives of these athletes and their families.”


11 FUNFit Volunteers in red shirts, posing together

Alyssa Hanson
Amanda Raguseo
Heather DeBoer
Tahne Buren
Shawna Buren
Gillian Young
Celine Nathoo
Kaela Newman
Tracy Kwok
Kate Gauldie
Rodolfo Jr Lastimosa


OIEPB graduate Rodolfo Jr Lastimosa

OIEPB graduate Rodolfo Jr Lastimosa