Gibsonia man to lead Special Olympics medical team
For the past 14 years, Kevin Conley has combined his two passions — sports and volunteering — to serve the athletes of the Special Olympics.
This year, he’s been selected to head up the medical team for Team USA, which will travel to the Special Olympics World Winter Games in January in Pyeongchang, South Korea, also the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“I just love being around a group of athletes that loves the thrill of competition and the opportunity to participate in an event like that,” said Conley, 45, of Gibsonia. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Conley, director of athletic training education in the Pitt School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, will oversee a staff of four providing medical care for 151 U.S. athletes.
Conley has worked with Special Olympics medical teams locally, and last year, traveled with the national organization to the World Games in Athens, Greece. In December, he will attend training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.
He enjoys his work, but it’s not without challenges.
“Because they’re not athletes I work with on a regular basis, you have to get a handle on what kind of condition they’re functioning with,” he said. “You have to make sure they are able to compete in a safe environment.”
Communication can be complicated with athletes who have hearing problems, and monitoring medication is key, especially when dealing with a time change, Conley said.
Craig Pippert, senior manager of sports development for Special Olympics of North America, said Conley was the ideal candidate for the job.
“In addition to his volunteering and medical expertise, he had the right demeanor,” Pippert said. “We’re excited he’s on board and taking the lead.”
Conley and his wife, Jill, have a son, Hayden, 6, and a daughter, Stella, 4.
Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or [email protected].