Adaptive Sports
Strength & Conditioning Program

The Mighty Penguins | Pittsburgh Steelwheelers

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Mighty Penguins

Based out of the Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, PA. The Mighty Penguins advocate and promote the inclusion of all disabled athletes. There are over 40 athletes of all ages between 4 teams. The organization is entirely run by volunteers and has been growing each year since its foundation in 1998.

Originally created through the partnership between Pitt DPT Alum Alex Brinlee & Mighty Penguin & US Paralympian Gold Medalist, Dan McCoy, I was brought on to help design the training process, train the volunteers, and ensure the program's goals are being worked towards.

Our mission is two-fold: 

  • To provide adaptive athletes with individualized, appropriate and effective strength and conditioning programs that will enhance on-ice performance, improve functional ability with daily tasks, promote exercise and daily mobility, reduce injury risk and improve the human experience.

  • To provide volunteers/student physical therapists the opportunity to work with adaptive athletes in order to gain experience designing individualized training programs catered towards the athletes goals and individual abilities.

To support the project, please consider purchasing a t-shirt or hoodie to help spread awareness for adaptive athletes HERE!


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PIttsburgh Steelwheelers

Christie Chiesa & Jim Tersak, two Pitt DPT Class of 2020 student physical therapists, have taken on the role of leading our second adaptive sports strength & conditioning arm. Alternating weekly with the Mighty Penguin sessions, we also train members of the Pittsburgh Steelwheelers, an organization that hosts a basketball, rugby, and handcycling team in addition to many more. This program is in it's infancy, but it growing at a mighty rate! Be on the lookout for future updates!