Athlete Coach Highlight: Dr. Murray Bernstein

April 8, 2014

At 76-years-old, Dr. Murray Bernstein isn’t slowing down. He's a Waukesha Area Technical College Psychology Professor, the Veteran Quest Clinic's Clinical Director, and a Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) Tennis and Snowshoe Racing Coach. 

"You have to be active to keep going," he said. "I'm not going to turn this body in in good shape. It's going to be well-used."

At first, Dr. Bernstein decided to add coaching to his resume to spend more time with the love of his life.

"I wanted to be with my wife who was volunteering for the organization," said Dr. Bernstein. "Why should she have all the fun?"

Inspired by how Special Olympics athletes overcome their obstacles, he decided to coach a sport which challenged him.

"I signed up to coach snowshoeing… the one thing I would never do in my life! I figured if everyone else can do it, I can do it too," he said.

It wasn't long before he started to feel the positive side-effects of volunteering. Dr. Bernstein found solace in Special Olympics, after providing years of military medical support and helping veterans with traumatic stress disorder. 

"I needed something different and [Special Olympics] was my therapy," he said. "Having fun and not worrying about winning or losing… relieved me of everything else."

According to Dr. Bernstein, Special Olympics athletes helped him become more mindful, aware and appreciative of his surroundings. He said he’s learned more than he could ever teach from the athletes. 

"I was in a snowshoe race with some of our athletes and they ran circles around me! I thought as coach, I was better. In five minutes, I learned the greatest lessons of my life. Never take anything for granted," he said.

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