Hofstra athletic trainer heads to Haiti to help earthquake victims

Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
Last month's Haitian earthquake that has killed over 200,000 people touched many people on the Hofstra University campus but especially Pride assistant athletic trainer David Riviere, who lived in Haiti until he was 14 and has many family and friends still living in the now ravaged Caribbean country. The 2007 Hofstra graduate, who works as an athletic trainer primarily for the Pride's volleyball and baseball programs, recently returned from a 10-day visit to his native county volunteering at a a hospital that took in many of the injured victims from the Jan. 12 earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter Scale.

Riviere, who moved from Haiti to Somerville, Mass. when he was 14, traveled to the earthquake-plagued region on Jan. 18 to deliver much-needed supplies to his many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends whose homes were badly damaged from what is considered one of the world's worst natural disasters to ever strike. After Riviere dropped off more than two-weeks worth of food and other supplies to his family and friends, he spent the vast majority of the remainder of his trip at a nearby hospital as a medical volunteer.

"It was humbling," said Riviere of his 10 day visit to Haiti in the wake of the Jan. 12 earthquake. "There is a lot of people in need over there."

Many of the victims Riviere cared for suffered broken bones and needed to have surgery. He said the most difficult task was informing patients who were starving without food for a days that they could not eat before having a surgery procedure because of medical reasons. "They were starving beyond belief," he said.
Riviere worked in the midst of extremely challenging conditions at the hospital with many family members of patients sleeping on the floor since there were not enough beds and mattresses.

"It was a little bit hard for you to go in and check on people's IV's and do treatments because there were family members sleeping at the foot of the bed on the floor," he said. "It was not until two days before I left that we got an international organization who donated about 40 beds and 40 mattresses to the hospital, which allowed us to at least remove some people from the floor and put them on a somewhat inflatable mattress."
Riviere considers himself lucky that his loved ones managed to survive the Jan. 12 earthquake but he did lose one close friend, who was student in Long Island University-Brooklyn's physician assistant program and happened to be visiting her family in Haiti on the day of the disaster. "The whole home collapsed on her and her parents," said Riviere, who found out the day before he departed for Haiti that she was killed.

Riviere is in his second year as an athletic trainer at Hofstra and found the school to be extremely accommodating of him spending the 10 days in Haiti. "They understood my concern and my needs and supported me 100 percent," he said.   

The Hofstra graduate is planning a return visit to Haiti this summer and has been in contact with both Handicap International and the National Association of Athletic Trainers to see if he can assist with relief efforts trips the two organizations are planning. He urges people to donate to either the American Red Cross or the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund if they want to do their part to help the earthquake victims in their long road to recovery.

"It is going to be a long rebuilding process," he said. "The damage that is over there is going to take years."

1 comment:

  1. hi, God bless David Riviere, is very well remember your people when you need it when they don't have money to buy viagra .. we must help Haiti