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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Helping Brazilian Physical Education Teachers, Students With Disabilities

SHAPE America Award Winning Health and Physical Education Assistant Professor Justin Haegele to Return to Brazil for Teacher Training

In June 2018, Justin Haegele will return to Brasilia, Brazil for the third time to help train physical education teachers on how to teach children with disabilities.

And this time, he isn't going alone.

Haegele, an assistant professor of health and physical education in the Department of Human Movement Sciences in the Darden College of Education, will be joined for the first time by Nicole Kirk, a doctoral student in the health and sport pedagogy program. Kirk, an expert martial artist, has acted as the Judo specialist for Camp Abilities Maryland (a one-week developmental sport camp for youth with visual impairments) for a number of years, and is the program coordinator for the Mighty Monarchs program, an adapted sport program held right here at Old Dominion University. This year, she will make the trip to Brasilia to share her unique expertise and abundant knowledge of how to modify activities for children with disabilities.

"There are very few training programs in Brazil that adequately train physical education teachers on how to work specifically with students with disabilities, so our work there has been very meaningful," said Haegele. "Our work has also lead to several research publications, as we've collected data during each trip examining attitudinal change toward teaching children with disabilities among Brazilian physical educators."

In addition to his travels to Brazil, Haegele was recently named the recipient of the SHAPE America Mabel Lee Award for young professionals. Named for the first female president of the American Physical Education Association, the award recognizes SHAPE members whose potential in scholarship, teaching and/or professional leadership indicate their ability to become distinguished members of the health and physical education profession.

According to Dr. Lynn Ridinger, human movement sciences department chair, "Dr. Haegele's selection by SHAPE America says a lot about the quality of the health and physical education program in the Darden College of Education. He has been amazingly productive with his research in his time at Old Dominion University and is incredibly deserving of this award." Haegele is now the second health and physical education faculty member to receive this award, joining Dr. Xihe Zhu. Old Dominion University's Health and Physical Education program is now one of few in the country to employ two previous Mabel Lee Award winners.

Haegele, whose research and teaching interests include adapted physical education/activity and inclusion, is well versed in receiving awards. In 2012, he was honored as the New York State Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year. More recently, he was selected in 2015 as the first recipient of the David P. Beaver Adapted Physical Activity Youth Scholar Award, awarded by the National Consortium of Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities. Last summer, he received the Elly D. Friedmann Young Professional Award, the organization's most prestigious award specifically for young professionals internationally, from the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity during its biannual symposium in Daegu, South Korea.

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