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Dr. Kyle Pierce Trains Ghana Athlete for Rio Paralympics

September 12, 2016

The hype over the 2016 Rio Olympics is beginning to settle down. Excitement about the games, triumphs of historic and talented athletes, and the memorable moments created in Brazil are sure to have lasting memories for years to come. But there is much more excitement to be had with the quickly approaching Paralympic Games in Rio, where physically disabled athletes compete on the world's stage for the coveted gold medal.

Such is true for Dr. Kyle Pierce, professor of kinesiology and health science at LSU Shreveport, who attended this year's Olympics as national coach for Ghana. Now, he is gearing up for the Rio Paralympic Games with Charles Teye from Ghana, a double amputee, who has been at LSUS for six weeks preparing for the competition.

"I became involved with coaching parapowerlifters after the 2008 Olympic Games when I was asked to host a clinic on disabled powerlifting as part of a Paralympic academy here at the Weightlifting Center at LSUS. I was alongside C.J. Bennett, a 20-year weightlifting friend of mine," Dr. Pierce said. "C.J. competed in able-bodied weightlifting, performing the snatch and clean and jerk, even though he has cerebral palsy. He has also coached many athletes in both weightlifting and parapowerlifting, including several who competed at the 1988 and 1992 Paralympic Games."

Dr. Pierce enjoys working with every athlete he meets and extends opportunities to help strong athletes become even stronger.

"I met Dr. Pierce when he was a coach for the weightlifting team in Glasgow. We trained together in Scotland and he promised me that when I was able to qualify for Rio he would allow me to come to LSUS to train," Teye said. "Back home I don't really have the training equipment I need so he thought it wise to give me the opportunity to get my pre-training here before I go to Rio." Teye smiled when he said he would be competing on Monday, Sept. 12, representing his national country, Ghana.

"After the competition I am returning home to continue with social work to help disabled people," Teye said. "I try to advise and educate people back home in my country that if you give people with disabilities the opportunity, they can also do something to help the country. So I'm using this as a way to educate. Disability is not inability when it comes to sports and other things. Naturally, I also meet every month with my physically challenged brothers and sisters and we play games. It gives them back life and hope that although with the level of disability they have, they can still do something to help Ghana."

Disabled athletes show a great amount of courage and strength to thrive in the sports they adore, and with the help of Dr. Pierce at the Weightlifting Center at LSUS, these athletes have all they need to be successful.

"Since we put on the clinic, we've had competitive parapowerlifters train in our center, and we've coached numerous lifters with Down syndrome who have gone on to compete in the Special Olympics and USA Weightlifting competitions," Dr. Pierce said. "All of our lifters train together regardless of abilities or disabilities. They also train year-round, because we constantly have lifters competing in various competitions from the local level to the World Championships and Olympic Games."

The Paralympics are Sept. 7-18.

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