Designed to tentatively launch in January 2016, the Collegiate Warrior Athlete Initiative would connect Boston College student-athletes with wounded soldiers in a partnership capacity. They would participate jointly in workouts and wellness education. The twice-weekly program would meet for a total of 12 weeks, followed by monthly meetings between the pairs for the foreseeable future. As of now, the program is funded for one full year, and other goals include holding a national conference that would educate other universities on the goals of The Collegiate Warrior Athlete Initiative.
The student-athletes would act as a point of contact for the wounded soldiers as they readjust to life after duty, allowing the soldiers to pair up with individuals who have also reached top physical form in their own way. Consequently, the student-athletes would be able to provide encouragement and motivation to the soldiers, understanding the physical tolls of daily training. Similarly, student-athletes would be put in touch with a mentor that would be capable of giving advice and pointers that the student-athlete might not receive from captains, teammates, coaches, or professors. The unique concurrent mentoring role would strengthen both communities as a result.
The BC Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the final barrier preventing the implementation of the program. If caught up in this process, the program would have to restructure its 12-week timeline, or be moved to the next fall semester. Luckily, both BC Athletics and the communications department have taken great strides in reaching out to potential volunteers, and bringing enthusiasm to the program overall. With eight other schools in the United States stating interest in the initiative, BC has an opportunity here to really help spearhead what could become an influential volunteer outlet on campus. While the college might not have a hand in what the IRB procedures are, the steps that it has taken thus far to help support the program have been a great start. Hopefully the initiative sees an expedited process. The program would be an exciting addition to student-athlete life.
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