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John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award

Dr. Sam Britten - Cal Northridge

2015 John K. Williams Jr. Int’l Adapted Aquatics Award

Sponsored by S.R. Smith


Dr. Sam Britten is internationally respected in his field and is one of the most beloved individuals on the Cal State Northridge campus, where he taught for 44 years (1959-2003). He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA and then earned his doctorate at USC where he specialized in rehabilitation training and therapy. He realized his calling at UCLA when he was asked to take a group of blind students to Mexico for spring break.


As a kinesiology professor, Britten created a rehabilitation and physical education center on campus in 1959, where he worked with injured athletes as the head trainer and worked extensively with disabled veterans from the Korean War after they had returned from service. The center grew in scope and by the 1980’s the Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled was established and had begun to earn a national reputation. In 2003, with Dr. Britten’s help, the university opened a new $6 million aquatic therapy center for the chronically challenged that is unrivaled in the United States.


For over 40 years, Dr. Britten, as a founding Director, has dedicated his life to providing the best quality adapted physical activity programs for people with special needs, while training students. His vision to build a most comprehensive adapted physical activity program for people with disabilities was completed by building a state of the art adapted aquatics center, the Abbott and Linda Brown Western Center for Adapted Aquatic therapy on the CSUN campus. Since 2003, Dr. Britten and his staff have started offering an adapted aquatics program for those who could not be easily accommodated on a land-based program. Thanks to his successful fundraising and procurement of donations, Dr. Britten was able to make his dream come true as well as help so many people in need

of adapted aquatics services programs.

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