Dr. Joanne Reid, from Stanley Bridge, enjoying her experience at World Games
It’s an experience Joanne Reid will never forget.
And although she may not have had an opportunity to watch many events, her interaction with the athletes provided lasting memories.
“It is amazing,” said Reid. “Oh my God, I love it.
“There is so much energy and excitement. The athletes are so passionate about what they are doing.”
That’s how Reid described her time as a clinical director at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. She arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, and was scheduled to fly home Sunday.
“I really lucked out getting the opportunity,” said Reid, who is from Stanley Bridge and a graduate of Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School. “Special Olympics P.E.I. set me up with it.”
In her role with the Special Olympics MedFest Healthy Athletes’ international program, Reid was part of a team of physicians performing physical exams and giving athletes medical clearance to participate. The program also included dentists, optometrists, neurologists and osteopathy doctors.
“We are scheduled for shifts of about four hours at a time,” said the soon-to-be 29-year-old daughter of Wilbert and Brenda Reid in a phone interview with TC Media recently. “It’s an amazing opportunity to meet professionals internationally that are brought together with the same goal in mind with such different backgrounds and experiences.
“During medical school you do not get much training with any individuals with intellectual disabilities. I am really new to it, but it’s a great way to learn.”
Reid’s “first real involvement with Special Olympics” was a bowling event on P.E.I. in late May.
The World Games’ opportunity arose from that experience, and the team of physicians screened 700 athletes from around the world at the University of Southern California (USC) before the start of competition.
“There were 40 athletes at that one (P.E.I. event), and down here there are 6,500,” added Reid, who graduated from medical school in May 2014 and now works in Charlottetown.
Reid admitted she had concerns about possible language barriers, but those were quickly put to rest.
“They have translators, which is very helpful,” said Reid. “Each team also has a medical person, so if you do find anything and need a referral or follow-up when they go home, you can ensure that happens.”
Reid was not only examining athletes, but was also providing geography lessons.
“When I mention P.E.I., they kind of look at you like, ‘Where is that?,’” she recalled.
Dr. Joanne Reid, right, and physician assistant student Amy lift 12-year-old swimmer Ana from Romania. Reid added Ana was “so excited” to be at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and noted this photo “sums up the awesomeness of my experience.” Ana, 12, is the youngest athlete swimmer at the World Games.