On March 16, 2015, the Entry Level Graduate Athletic Training program in the College of Education Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science (KRS) hosted the Ke Ola Mau Youth Summit. The group was comprised of 8th to 12th grade Native Hawaiian students who are interested in pursuing careers in the health profession. Ke Ola Mau is a branch of the Nā Pua Noʻeau Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children.
The Youth Summit’s objective is to increase the number of Hawaiian health professionals and to address health challenges that are prevalent in the Native Hawaiian population. Students are able to learn through field activities from partnering organizations like the University of Hawaiʻi.
“We had a full agenda planned for the students,” said Yukiya Oba, KRS Clinical Education Coordinator. “We conducted talks, tours, an interactive activity, and observations in one afternoon. The students seemed to be enjoying themselves, actively participating and asking many questions. Everyone in the planning committee did a wonderful job.”
Oba gave the students a brief overview of KRS’s degree programs, including a more detailed explanation of the athletic training program. This introduction was followed by two guest speakers – athletic trainer Brian Wong and football student athlete Keelan Ewaliko. Wong gave the students insight into a certified athletic trainer’s life, and Ewaliko shared some of his experiences as a Native Hawaiian student athlete. Their presentation highlighted the important relationship fostered between athletic trainer and athlete from a medical as well as personal perspective.
Later, the students engaged in a concussion assessment activity, undergoing and administering balance and memory tests. During an athletics facility tour, Thomas Heffernan, a strength coordinator, took the students through the weight training room. Kekoa Seward, an assistant arena manager, showed the students some of the Stan Sheriff Center’s most fascinating features. The tour concluded in the athletic training room where students watched athletes being treated by athletic trainers.
“This month is National Athletic Training Month,” added Oba. “We feel fortunate that we are able to promote our profession and KRS to Native Hawaiian students and hope this becomes an annual event.”