By assessing the strength and power of 40 figure skaters at the Reggie Lewis Track Athletic Center in Boston, physical therapy and exercise physiology students applied classroom learning to the real world.
“The students really enjoyed the experience because it allowed them to use the skills they learned in the classroom in a real work setting,” said Associate Prof. Cynthia Ferrara of Exercise Physiology who serves on the Sports Medicine and Sports Science Committee for U.S. Figure Skating.
Second-year doctor of physical therapy students Celine DeMaggio, Connor Ryan and Heather Jones and senior exercise physiology students Molly Nowill and Greg Titus, along with Ferrara, tested each of the skater’s abilities using the standards set by U.S. Skating, called STARS (Standardized Testing of Athleticism to Recognize Skaters).
“Screening skaters helped me put to use some of the tests that we performed in our exercise physiology labs,” said Nowill. “It was a positive experience that really helped me apply my knowledge of exercise physiology in a setting outside of classes.”
The benefit of the STARS assessment is for athletes to get baselines of how fit they are so that they can see how well they are performing, and see how they relate to others of similar age or figure skating level.
“It felt really good giving the skaters feedback that they could use to improve their performance,” said Nowill. “This experience has definitely shown me that being an assessor is a good career option for the degree I am pursuing. It is great to keep my options open and look at all the possibilities that my degree offers.”