Patrick Nunan examines the feet of an athlete from Special Olympics Japan.
I met Patrick Nunan when he was running a station at the Fit Feet area of the Healthy Athletes clinic in Gangneung. We started talking about memorable athletes with foot-related issues and in the process I learned how interrelated the seven Healthy Athletes are.
A young woman from Macau had trouble snowshoeing because of an imbalance of muscles and other issues that made it painful for her to run.
Though his specialty is feet, Nunan sent her off to the Fun Fitness area, which specializes in physical therapy. I asked him if that kind of referral to another Healthy Athletes area was common and he answered with an example: If a Special Olympics athlete has balance problems, it could be related to his feet, his muscles, his vision or his ears.
"That's an example where we have four disciplines trying to determine where it's coming from. If you don't determine where it's coming from then you can't treat it correctly."
It's all about doing what's best for the athletes and clearing away physical issues that hamper performance.
"It's amazing that we have athletes who have this kind of problem, and yet they can compete at this high a level," Nunan said. "Their spirit and determination in overcoming their intellectual disability helps them overcome the physical disabilities as well."
About Will Schermerhorn: I am the director of web products for Special Olympics