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Special Olympics’ focus and vision is closely aligned with APTA’s own, which aims to improve society. So it makes perfect sense that APTA and these games have a long history of collaboration.

On the morning of Sunday, June 5, I was sitting in Explora- Stadium in Orlando, Florida, celebrating the lighting of the torch and the opening of the 2022 Special Olympics USA National Games.

I was in the stands with a delegation of APTA leadership, sent to represent the profession at this important event in which PTs play such an important and visible role. We were there to celebrate the 4,000 Special Olympians from across the United States and the Caribbean who had trained and competed to earn the ability to represent their states or nations in these games. As per usual, I had tears in my eyes and a full heart. And this time seemed extra special because we were together again after pandemic-driven separation.

Physical therapists have been involved with Special Olympics almost since its inception. According to Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics and the son of the games’ founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, physical therapists were frequent volunteers for Camp Shriver, the precursor to Special Olympics.

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