'It means the world to me': 19-year-old Bend personal trainer finds his passion helping kids with special needs
Featured by KTVZ Channel 21 news
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Luke Williams, a 19-year-old certified personal trainer, likes to push Abigail Hamer during their workouts at Boss Sports Performance.
“You’re almost there girl -- I believe in you!” Williams told Abi during a workout. “Great job! You’re killing it, Abi!”
Abi has Down syndrome, and she’s one of Williams' many clients he trains through Specialty Athletic Training.
“There’s just a wide spectrum of disabilities,” Williams said of the clients he trains. “So I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s not just one niche little thing, it's a broad thing.”
Here is Specialty Athletic Training’s description of the different disabilities it works with:
"We have worked with over 750 individuals with a variety of diagnoses, including but not limited to:
ADHD, Alzheimer's Disease, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Dyslexia, and Parkinson's Disease."
Williams, a Mountain View grad, has a familiar connection to people with disabilities.
“My older brother actually has special needs. He has cerebral palsy, with a little bit of brain damage,” Williams said. “I’ve always looked after him, and he’s always looked after me.”
After volunteering for the Special Olympics, he knew helping people like his brother Logan was something he wanted to do more often.
“I think the moment I stepped in that first class of helping everybody out,” Williams said.
Now he trains kids like Abi every week, and they seem to like him.
“He’s funny, and he keeps telling me jokes a lot,” Abi said.
Joking aside, Abi’s here to get fit.
“I like doing the bicep curls,” Abi stated.
Noah Chast asked Abi who she thinks is stronger, her or Williams.
She proudly responded, “me.”
Helping kids like Abi get strong and confident is why Williams does it.
“It means the world, honestly. I can’t even describe how amazing it feels,” Williams said. “I think I’ve honestly learned more from them than they’ve learned from me.”
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS*D, CSPS*D is the Founder and CEO of Specialty Athletic Training. He is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Special Populations Specialist. Lockard is a member of the board of directors for the Autism Society of America and the advisory board for the NSCA Oregon chapter.