There’s sure to be a wave of fans in midnight green headed from Philadelphia to Minnesota for the Super Bowl, but if you look closely, you might spot some old gold and red.
Shammah Bermudez, director of disability services at Ursinus College, has been selected to be part of the mobility assistance team at U.S. Bank Stadium during the big game and will be on hand to help meet the needs of disabled fans throughout the day.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Bermudez says. “For me, being a sports fan, it’s cool to be part of something as big as the Super Bowl. But it also adds to my experience in working with people with disabilities in different settings, and helps me to better meet their needs.”
“This is one of the world’s biggest sporting events and accessibility is a priority,” he says. “It’s about making sure that not only the stadium is accessible to these individuals, but that they get to enjoy the same experience as everyone else, making it inclusive to everyone in attendance.”
With an estimated one million people flocking to Minneapolis in the days leading up to the game, Bermudez had to first gain clearance from the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security before being accepted to the mobility assistance team, and on Feb. 3—the Saturday before the game—he’ll participate in a day-long training program to prepare for super Sunday. On game day, he’ll work from about 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. with breaks in between, helping any disabled fan when assistance is required.
Bermudez has more than 15 years of experience working with people with disabilities. Prior to beginning his career in higher education, Bermudez specialized in post-acute brain injury rehabilitation, working with patients with traumatic brain injuries and neurological trauma. He then served coordinator for disability services at Delaware County Community College before coming to Ursinus, where he facilitates accommodations for students under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and empowers students to reach their academic potential through advice and support.
For Bermudez, who lives in Collegeville on the Ursinus campus, working the Super Bowl is a dream come true. A native of Long Island, N.Y., he’s a New York Giants fan—an Eagles rival that happens to have two recent Super Bowl wins over the Patriots.
So, does he have a rooting interest?
“No, I don’t,” he says. “I’m excited. I joke that I can’t root for the Eagles, but it’s hard to match the passion of their fan base. It’s been a great story—that they’ve been underdogs and the backup quarterback brought them to this point, so I’m excited to see what happens.” –By Ed Moorhouse