PORTLAND, Ore. -- During his senior year of football at Lewis and Clark College, Ryan Lockard tore his ACL.
For a college football player, this injury is a tremendous setback. At least six months are generally needed for rehabilitation and players are often not truly back to full strength for over a year.
Since the injury happened in his final year of eligibility, it was likely his career was over. However, Lockard was granted a medical redshirt, which allowed him to play one more season, provided he stayed in school. In order to fill this requirement he took an independent study course and worked as an aide with a young man who has autism.
Through his work, he noticed that even though the young man was more than capable, expectations him were far lower than those of his peers, especially in the area of physical fitness. Lockard was determined to change that perception.
In 2012, Lockard combined his background in athletics with his desire to help an underserved community, and turned it into a business. Specialty Athletic Training is devoted to serving those with special needs by working with them on their physical fitness. Ryan has worked with over 150 individuals who range in age from 4 to 64, and whose special needs include autism and Down syndrome.
While the personal training addresses a physical need as obesity rises in the special needs community, it also empowers individuals and gives them the confidence to tackle daily problems.
In four years his reach has grown and he and his trainers now work with people at locations in Portland and Vancouver. He also teaches a special needs physical education class in Northeast Portland.