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WBUR Oral History Project: Dara Casparian and Samantha Conley

Dara Casparian and Samantha Conley

Interviewed by: Joanna Shea O'Brien

Date: February 14, 2014

Location: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (Charlestown, MA)

Recorder: Joanne DeCaro

Photo: Dara Casparian (Photo by Masha Fishbeyn) and Samantha Conley (Photo by Greg O'Quinn)




Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital played a critical role in the rehabilitation of many of the most seriously injured survivors of the bombings, including 15 amputees (two of whom were double amputees).  They juggled the opening of their new facility in the Boston Navy Yard just days after the bombings with the admission and care for dozens of patients and intense media attention, both of which continued for several months. Many of their staff were also personally involved as runners on the Spaulding marathon team.

In this joint interview, Dara Casparian, Physical Therapist, and Sam Conley, Occupational Therapist, share their stories of caring for the marathon survivors in the spring and summer of 2013.  They explain exactly what PT and OT practitioners do and why they love their work in rehabilitative medicine.  Sam and Dara continue on to discuss the critical work they did with patients who were injured at the Boston Marathon.  They detail the challenges - their own fears of facing trauma so directly, worrying about how they would connect with their patients - and the triumphs - practicing with one patient to prepare her for the first pitch at a Red Sox game, escorting another patient for her first home visit, and taking a patient and his family on an excursion to the New England Aquarium.  Dara describes visiting the Copley Square memorial for the first time and getting choked up, and what this event meant or means for the city, especially after having worked so closely with Boston Marathon bombing survivors at Spaulding during their recovery.

Audio Clip 1

Sam describes what rehabilitative occupational therapy is, and why she chose to work at a facility like Spaulding as opposed to doing occupational therapy with children. 

Audio Clip 2

Sam talks about the meeting at Spaulding before the arrival of the patients who had been injured at the Boston Marathon. She also discusses how she and her co-workers prepared themselves for the trauma that these people had experienced. 

Audio Clip 3

Dara and Sam share how they helped a marathon patient prepare to throw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game. 

Full Interview


Related Links

Boston Marathon Reflections: "One Positive Thing Was That I Met You" (WBUR)


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