(KPTV) – While gyms remain closed, more and more groups have turned to virtual workouts that might be more of the norm after the virus subsides.
Ryan Lockard found his career calling while playing, then coaching at Lewis & Clark.
“I found a job on Craigslist working with a 13-year-old boy with autism and that part-time job ended up becoming my independent study, so I wrote a paper on autism and my experience working with Ben. He is the one that the logo is designed after and the inspiration behind the whole company, and he is like a little brother to me,” said Lockard.
That initial connection with his buddy Ben led Lockard to creating Specialty Athletic Training nearly eight years ago to serve athletes with special needs.
“A lot of people, especially now with social media, were reaching out to us saying, ‘We’d love if you were in this area or that area of this state so, geographically we were limited,’” Lockard said.
Normally working with four gym spaces in Portland, Vancouver, and Bend, Lockard’s trainers have gone fully virtual without skipping a beat or workout.
“How are you going to motivate someone via FaceTime or via Zoom? We always knew that we could do it, but it was definitely the unknown,” said Lockard.
Virtual interaction certainly isn’t the same as physical interaction, but those smiles still feel the same.
Henry from central Oregon made a connection with a pair of NFL twin brothers, Jacob and Cody Hollister from the Seahawks and Titans while working out with Specialty Athletic Training at Boss Sports Performance, the home of Philomath-raised Super Bowl champion Kevin Boss. It’s where professional athletes, like Beaver-turned-Minnesota Viking Blake Brandel had been sharing the same space.
“It’s pretty special and I think that is the biggest thing I pride myself in and going places of creating that community. Just being extremely grateful for that, but they are also grateful for seeing our clients and having them integrated in their environment as well, so it is always mutually beneficial. It really helps us breakdown the stigmas of special needs and diagnoses these kids sometimes have and then having those guys witness that too and see that our clients are putting in the work and then also have our clients see the work that what it looks like at that level, it’s a great experience,” Lockard said.
When asked how this virtual way will set them up going forward, Lockard said, “For us, it’s more of us setting it up where now we are able to go virtual and offer our training to anyone, anywhere, no matter what’s going on, which is pretty awesome going forward.”
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CSPS is the founder and head trainer of Specialty Athletic Training and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Special Populations Specialist. He is a member of the board of directors for the Autism Society of America and the Central Oregon Disability Support Network.