Slippery Rock Alumni Work as Trainers, Therapists at Tokyo Games

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Five Slippery Rock University alumni were among the athletic trainers and physical therapists at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Brandi Long, Adam McDowell and Kevin Kotsko were the athletic trainers, while Chris Lefever and Amber Donaldson, vice president of sports medicine for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, were present for these worldwide events.

Long and Lefever worked in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s High Performance Center, providing medical care and support for a variety of athletes.

McDowell is the head athletic trainer for the U.S. Paralympic men’s goalball team, while Kotsko is the head athletic trainer for the U.S. men’s and women’s boxing teams. Donaldson managed all of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s sports medicine clinics at the Games and year-round across the United States.

Brandi Long and Chris Lefever

It was the first time Long, McDowell, Kotsko and Lefever had worked at the Games, but the experience was different than in past years with the COVID-19 restrictions and no crowds. 

“I don’t know how it compares to a normal year, but it was absolutely amazing to be there with the athletes,” said Long, who is with the men’s gymnastics team. “We got to see them outside of their competitive nature and what people see on television. They’re all just really humble. It’s so great to be able to support them. Our job is to give them a home away from home, where they can be comfortable and do whatever they need to do to succeed.”

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Athletic Training at Slippery Rock are required to complete a clinical residency in their second year in the program. Having five alumni at the Tokyo Games helps the program’s credibility.

“We’re proud to have such a strong representation of SRU alumni working in the top of their fields, including at high levels such as the Olympics and Paralympics,” says Kim Keeley, an exercise and rehabilitative sciences professor and director of the athletic training program at Slippery Rock. “We congratulate them on their hard work and for setting an example of what can be achieved with an SRU education.”

Pictured at top: Slippery Rock graduate Brandi Long was among the five alumni who worked as athletic trainers and physical therapists at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo

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