A Global Effort Through Sports
The power of sports to unify and break barriers is well established. Global events such as the World Cup or the Olympic and Paralympic games unite the world for brief moments in the spirit of competition and enable a shared sense of humanity. Sports can bridge cultures and encourage understanding, education and tolerance. For Dr. Cheri Blauwet, she has seen the transformative power of sports through her own celebrated exploits as well as globally from large stadiums to remote villages.
A multi-time Boston Marathon Wheelchair racing champion and Paralympian medalist, Dr. Blauwet has worked with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees as well as the International Olympic Committee to expand the accessibility and inclusion for athletes with disabilities. In her work as part of the Harvard Medical School Department of PM&R, she also works closely with Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers to develop research and programs to include sports and recreation as a standard part of care.
This background as a clinician and renowned athlete has allowed Dr. Blauwet to lend her voice to important platforms to advance the use of sports as a vehicle for development and change. This past April, Dr. Blauwet served as a special adviser to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at the United Nations event ‘United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport.’ The event emphasized that sports can promote healthy lifestyles and empower marginalized people as well as in times of unrest provide victims with space to heal and grow. Joining Dr. Blauwet as an adviser was tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Among the important ongoing awareness efforts is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) established by the United Nations General Assembly. Every April 6th, IDSDP commemorates the first opening of the Olympic Games in 1896. Spaulding celebrated IDSDP with an education panel event. Prominent Olympians including 1980 “Miracle on Ice” USA Hockey Team Captain Mike Eruzione, participated to highlight the role sports and the spirit of the games played in shaping their lives in a positive way well after the competitions ended.
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—A Patient Thanking Dr. Meleger