More than a dozen first-year students from West Coast University’s doctor of physical therapy program got up very early recently to volunteer at the LA Marathon this March.
Greg Ayscue, the assistant director of clinical education for the physical therapy department, said 15 students participated at the event as “hot walkers,” or volunteers that assist runners who have just completed the grueling 26-mile event — which occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that canceled all events in Southern California.
“Hot Walkers assist runners immediately after finishing the marathon who are experiencing heat-related and exercise-induced illnesses such as nausea, cramps, dizziness, confusion and unconsciousness, and to physically assist and escort them to the medical tent as needed,” Ayscue said.
Ayscue said it was a fantastic experience for the first-year students to handle athletes that were temporarily physically or potentially cognitively impaired.
“I was so impressed by this group’s assertiveness and confidence in jumping into the crowd and assisting these exhausted runners,” he said. “There were numerous instances that our students prevented an athlete from falling and possibly seriously injuring themselves.”
Ayscue said he was proud of how the students performed and hoped that it would become a regular event for the school.
“I want to thank all of the students that came out, and to let everyone know that they really made a difference to our LA community,” he said.
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