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Q&A with Maris Grove Fitness Manager

March 13, 2020

John O'Donnell, LAT, ATC, brings his expertise in athletic training and senior fitness to his role at the senior living community.

The month of March is National Athletic Training Month, which spreads awareness about the vital work of athletic trainers. With more than 25 years of experience as a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, Fitness Manager John O'Donnell is a valuable member of the fitness staff at Maris Grove, an Erickson Living developed and managed senior living community in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

John spoke recently about his career as an Athletic Trainer and his role at Maris Grove.

How do you bring your expertise in athletic training and senior fitness to your role at Maris Grove? In my role as Fitness Manager at Maris Grove, I incorporate my education as an Athletic Trainer with my 20 years of experience working in the Senior Fitness field. Unlike in a traditional athletic training role, the individuals that I work with are not preparing for an athletic event. Instead, their focus is improving or maintaining their overall physical ability and may include improving gait, balance, strength, and endurance. 

The theme for this year's National Athletic Training Month is "AT's Impact Health Care through Action." What does this mean to you?

This theme connects well with my role at Maris Grove. Our fitness staff partners with our onsite Medical Center, Outpatient Rehabilitation, and Continuing Care Neighborhood to provide a continuum of care for Maris Grove residents. By working together, we can provide residents with outstanding health care right on campus. 

What sports did you play growing up? Football, Wrestling, Track (Pole Vault), and Rugby.

What is the best part of your job at Maris Grove? The overall feeling of family and being a part of a great vibrant community.

What type of classes and fitness programs do you offer on campus? Group exercise classes include Chair Yoga, Water Aerobics, Mat Yoga, Pilates, Fitness to the Beat, Men's Exercise Group, Circuit Training, and Balance & Mobility. We also offer Fitness Programs, including Independent Exercise and Fitness Plus – which is a group exercise program that is guided by a staff member who sets up equipment for residents, records exercises, and makes adjustments to routines as needed. Also, we offer Personal Training.

What's the most popular fitness class or activity? Chair Yoga is our most popular Group Exercise class, with sometimes over 40 residents participating. Overall, the majority of Maris Grove residents exercise independently in our 3 Fitness facilities and Aquatic Center. 

What do you like to do for fun? I enjoy spending time with family and friends, staying active, watching sports, and enjoying new and delicious foods.

For more information on Maris Grove, visit

About Maris Grove: Maris Grove, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. The community is located in Delaware County and is home to more than 1,600 residents. Additional information about Maris Grove can be found at

Photo: John O'Donnell, LAT, ATC, brings his expertise in athletic training and senior fitness to his role as Fitness Manager at Maris Grove.