CFISD health science teacher completes Olympic sports medicine rotation
Dr. Shaneka Hampton-Longoria, Cypress Park High School health science teacher, recently completed a sports medicine internship rotation with the United States Olympic and Paralympic teams. She spent two weeks at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., which features venues and support facilities for eight Olympic sports, including archery, BMX cycling, rugby and track and field.
Sept. 9, 2021—Dr. Shaneka Hampton-Longoria, Cypress Park High School health science teacher, recently completed a sports medicine internship rotation with the United States Olympic and Paralympic teams, giving her real-life experience she is now able to use in her classroom. The rotation also emphasized her education and training, as Hampton-Longoria faced an emergency situation on her final day but was able to provide medical assistance to an injured athlete.
“This opportunity surpassed and absolutely superseded my expectations,” Hampton-Longoria said. “I get to amp up my presentations that much more for my students because I truly lived it. All of these things came full circle and it meant everything.”
Hampton-Longoria spent two weeks in August at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Known as the Elite Athlete Training Center, the 155-acre campus features venues and support facilities for eight Olympic sports, including archery, BMX cycling, rugby and track and field. Not only was she able to work with athletes and staff members returning from the 2020 Summer Olympics, held this summer in Tokyo, but also a number of athletes preparing for the Paralympic Games, which began Aug. 24 after the Olympics concluded.
Her journey began in 2019 through connections Hampton-Longoria made with fellow doctoral classmates. One currently works at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and another had already completed the same internship rotation. They told her of the opportunities available and encouraged her to apply.
Hampton-Longoria was already providing sports medicine and training services in other avenues, which included helping USA Track and Field athletes.
She applied and was selected to complete her rotation in July 2020, but everything changed due to COVID-19.
“Everything was put on hiatus until further notice,” she said. “I just had to continue to live life and figure out life just like everyone else was in the midst of that. It wasn’t that much of a huge focus, and for lack of a better phrase, I just put it into God’s hands. If it was supposed to be revived and happen again, it would be.”
As the months kept rolling on, Hampton-Longoria figured this opportunity was gone. Perhaps, she thought to herself, the selection committee members would keep the door open for her to apply again once the program started back up.
That all changed with one letter featuring the iconic Olympic rings.
“It was more than getting this random letter in the mail,” she said. “You see the Olympic rings and just think, ‘Oh my gosh. I got the letter.’ They don’t tell you when selections are happening or the whole process of how it happens. You turn in your application and everything goes crickets for quite a while. And then surprise. It was exciting all over again like it was brand-new.”
Hampton-Longoria spent Aug. 1-15 at the Elite Athlete Training Center. She spent time working with Paralympic athletes but also in sports where she had little to no experience.
“It was a great experience,” she said. “Staff members who were present to help get me acclimated were great, supportive and trusting of my ideas and experiences as a practitioner. They didn’t tell me what to do in every scenario and situation because they said, ‘You are already a practitioner. You just don’t happen to work here full time.’ They knew what I was capable of and let me go.”
Dr. Shaneka Hampton-Longoria, Cypress Park High School health science teacher, recently completed a sports medicine internship rotation at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. She hopes to use her experiences and newly-acquired skills to better serve her students in the classroom.
There were challenges and adversity, but none bigger than Hampton-Longoria’s final day of her rotation.
She was at BMX cycling practice with one athlete she met the day before.
During the warmup, the cyclist flipped over his handlebar and landed on his head. It was categorized as a catastrophic injury, which may include paralysis, brain bleeding and complete unconsciousness.
“He fell before and I was looking for him to pop right back up,” Hampton-Longoria said. “And when he didn’t, I just thought to myself, ‘This is the real thing.’”
Hampton-Longoria immediately notified staff for an “all hands on deck” emergency. She called 911 and with the staff, performed CPR twice. The athlete was taken to a trauma facility and placed on life support.
“It was really tragic,” she said.
Five days later, Hampton-Longoria received a call with good news. The athlete made a miraculous recovery, was coherent and walking with assistance, and released from the hospital to soon start his rehabilitation.
“He saw video footage of the accident and us rushing out to save his life, and he just thanked us for everything and his family thanked us for everything,” she said. “And everyone specifically thanked me since I was the first on scene and called for everything to be put in play.”
That day also gave Hampton-Longoria a new perspective on what she has learned throughout her career and the skills she’s teaching her students in the classroom. She teaches CPR and helps her students become certified in the life-saving skill, but that was the first time she actually had to perform CPR.
“I know I was working in a state of shock and I somehow found the way to maneuver to go through all the steps properly,” she said. “That’s the new skill I learned—to just truly know how to execute when your adrenaline is up and everything is coming at you.”
That is just one of the many experiences Hampton-Longoria is taking with her back to the classroom. Her presentations can mean so much more because she’s lived those procedures and situations. At the same time, she’s able to provide a different perspective, which includes receiving gratitude.
“It was very, very hard to be faced in that position where you’re receiving praise,” Hampton-Longoria said. “We’re in a thankless position as clinicians in these times, so when that happens, also be open enough and humble enough to know that it is OK to receive that thank-you because you did what you were supposed to do and what you were trained to do.”