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Occupational and Physical Therapy Students Swim with the Nashville Dolphins

PT and OT students stand in front of the swimming pool at a recent volunteering opportunity with the Nashville Dolphins

Belmont University students from the Schools of Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) performed aquatic exercises with the Nashville Dolphins under the direction of Dr. Natalie Michaels, professor of both PT and OT at Belmont, and Dr. Timothy Jones, associate professor and aquaticS specialist in the Department of Human Performance and Sports Science at Tennessee State University. The Nashville Dolphins, under the direction of Megan Kelly, is a group of children, teens and young adults, many with Down Syndrome, who enjoy swimming.

Michaels started the Aquifit program nine years ago to provide aquatic exercises for wellness, socialization and enjoyment to members of the community. Exercises are performed pool-side, to music, by physical therapists, occupational therapists, aquatic specialists and OT/PT students while community members exercise in the water. Michaels said, ” Once again, the community was extremely impressed by the professionalism, kindness and intellect of the Belmont students.”

Students from the DPT program included Hunter Pickens, Mallorie Sweat, Emily Averitt and Courtney Alama. Students from the OTD program included Emma Mace and Sally Widmann. Hunter Pickens and Mallorie Sweat also served as song leaders. Approximately 12 members of the Dolphins participated. They reported that they “had a blast,” and really seemed to enjoy their interactions with the Belmont students.

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