McCanna works as the bobsled brakeman while Nick Cunningham, a USA brakeman in the 2010 Olympics, drives. A brakeman sits in the back, brakes the sled when needed and provides the impetus at the start before climbing into the sled.
McCanna, right, and his preceptor Paul Couch, RN, care for a patient in the cardiac intensive care unit at UNC Hospitals.
Forces up to 5g can hit McCanna while practicing for the USA Olympic Elite Developmental Skeleton team.
Olympic skeleton for nursing student
Acceleration defines Micah McCanna. He’s a senior in the School of Nursing’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. He’s going full-tilt as he balances class, clinical, studying, an honors project, spending time with his fiancé, and working at UNC Hospitals.
And, after racing around Chapel Hill, McCanna is training on the USA Olympic Elite Developmental Skeleton team. Skeleton is a fast winter sliding sport where the competitor rides face down on a small sled down a frozen track. People are surprised to hear that this North Carolina native, who played on the East Carolina University baseball team, competes in winter sports. Ironically, McCanna says he doesn’t like cold weather. It is the competition he craves.
“I got really interested in bobsled and skeleton during the last two Winter Olympic games,” he says. “I looked up the athletic requirements for these sports and realized I had the strength and speed.” He submitted an athletic resume and then went through a series of physical tests last year.
Speed and strength are important in skeleton, especially during the start.
He did so well in the physical tests that he made the Elite team, which means he only pays for his travel. He trains with the team in Lake Placid, N.Y., experiencing forces up to 5 g.
His performance in a national skeleton race in March will be factored with the results of his physical tests to determine if he gets a place on one of the U.S. National Skeleton Teams. The best competitors each year race in the World Cup, and the Olympic team is typically picked from these top racers.