WellSpan medical volunteers may tape a sprained ankle and listen to the hearts of the athletes at the 2023 Special Olympics Indoor Winter Games being held in York March 4 and 5.
But the WellSpan physicians, athletic trainers and other volunteers also will give from their own hearts, cheering and supporting the competitors at the Games. Volunteers say watching the athletes twirl and race on the ice, battle for a puck, and knock over pins motivates and energizes them.
“Special Olympics promotes the best in humanity,” says Dr. Bryan Wexler, a WellSpan emergency physician who served as a Special Olympics coach for many years before he began volunteering as the medical director of the York event in 2019, when WellSpan first started providing medical coverage for the event.
“We all have challenges we have to face and overcome,” says Wexler, who also is the WellSpan medical director of disaster preparedness and response. “When you see the athletes, and how hard they have worked and trained to be at the events, and how much they put their heart into competing, it makes you want to adopt those attitudes in your own life.
“It is truly inspiring.”
The Games include ice skating, speed skating, floor hockey, and bowling held at several sites in York. WellSpan is the official medical provider at the event.
Here is more on WellSpan and the Games, by the numbers:
- 30: Number of WellSpan volunteers at the Indoor Games this year. This includes physicians, athletic trainers, advance practice providers, and others.
- 10: Average number of hours those volunteers will give. However, some volunteers give up to 48 hours as they provide overnight medical coverage in some of the 10 hotels where athletes are staying.
- 500: Number of athletes participating in the Games.
- 200: Number of coaches at the Games.
- 4: Number of game sites. This includes two York bowling alleys, an ice arena, and expo center.