Professor represents NAU at Paralympic games
By Daniel Daw
Anne Hart, a professor in the physical therapy department, represented NAU in the London Paralympic games as an international evaluator. The Paralympics Games occurred between Aug. 29 to Sept. 9. The Lumberjack spoke with Hart to discuss her experiences as an international evaluator and being an integral part of this year’s Paralympic Games.
Lumberjack: Is this the first time you have been an international evaluator for the Paralympic Games?
Anne Hart: I was a classifier, the term we use for evaluator, at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games and the Chief Classifier, or the person in charge for the classification at that sport, at the 2008 Beijing Games. So, this is my third time.
LJ: How does being an evaluator differ from physical therapy?
AH: Not much really. As a classifier we examine the contribution of the impairment to sport specific skill where a PT (Physical Therapist) would examine the contribution of impairment to activities of daily living such as dressing and walking.
LJ: A historic moment occurred when Oscar Pistorius, of South Africa, qualified and competed in the London Olympic Games alongside the London Paralympic games. Do you think that we will see more competitors competing in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games?
Oscar was not the first athlete with impairment to participate in the Olympics, but the first to be in a very high profile sport. There have been open water swimmers, table tennis players, archers and equestrian participants with impairment in the past and Oscar was not the only athlete to compete in both Olympics and Paralympics in London.
LJ: The event you evaluated competitors for was wheelchair rugby. What were some of the challenges that you faced?
Things are quite smooth for us in London because of two years of preparation work to have athletes evaluated prior to arriving in London. In general, the challenges always are making the difficult decisions when an athlete has too much ability to qualify for wheelchair rugby. There is a health condition that results in impairment, so we don’t question that. However, wheelchair rugby is not open to all and has eligibility criteria that some athletes will exceed, so this is not the sport for them.
LJ: How was your overall experience in London?
Fantastic, great competitions, exciting sports, fabulous crowds and [it was] incredibly well organized.
LJ: What lessons will you bring back from your experiences in London?
I am always amazed by the abilities of the athletes and the amazing resiliency of those who have met adversity, and pushed beyond to thrive in life.