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UAB to host athletes, competitions during The World Games

UAB playing key role in hosting World Games
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – The World Games 2022 are taking over Birmingham this summer, and the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“It’s arguably one of the biggest international events really to come to the state of Alabama in its history,” said Brian Burnett, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, UAB.

In addition to his fulltime job at UAB, Burnett is point of contact for The World Games 2022. Every detail of UAB’s involvement in the competition comes through his office.

“We’re looking at our banners that flank the streets, making sure those are ready,” said Burnett.

He added, “On the big one, it’s just wrapping our head around full residence halls in the summer because that’s not normal for this campus or any college campus.”

Most competitors and support staff, 3,000 people, will be staying in UAB’s residence halls.

“It’s exactly what it’s going to be, an Olympic Village that we’re just excited what that brings to the campus. The international flavor, it comes with being thoughtful about their safety, but we’re working very closely with federal and state partners about what those protocols are going to be.”

UAB is also working to get enough bed sheets, blankets, pillows and towels for each guest.

“We generally don’t provide sheets and pillows to our students, our students bring their own so we’re having to provide all that. We need over 3,000 pillows!”

Burnett said UAB’s goal is to make sure these athletes feel at home, no matter where they’re from in the world. That means translation services and cuisine will be key.

“It’ll be a different fare of food then we would typically serve students who are here at UAB and they’ve been on that since the beginning, that was one of the big pieces to make sure we could meet the dietary needs of the athletes, when they’re living in our residence halls this summer.”

UAB is also hosting four competitions on campus.

“The Track and Field will host tug of war, our PNC soccer stadium will host men’s and women’s lacrosse and then our Campus Recreation Center will host racquetball and squash,” said Burnett.

At each competition, on campus and throughout the games, will be a team from UAB Medicine.

UAB Medicine has committed to the World Games to be the, essentially, the healthcare provider and coordinator. They’ve recruited other hospitals, medical providers to assist the vastness of this event over 10 days. We’re all over Birmingham, all over Jefferson County with these sport venues are taking place, so it’s going to be all hands on deck.”

It’s all hands on deck, on top of normal operations. Burnett said it’ll be a busy competition but the payoff is priceless. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to showcase both UAB and UAB Medicine and our health center, not just to the state of Alabama but to the country and the world.”

Athletes from Ukraine will be competing in the World Games and staying on UAB’s campus. Burnett said they are planning to welcome them in a special way, but are still determining the most appropriate way to do that.

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