Dynamic Chiropractic – September 1, 1992, Vol. 10, Issue 18

Terry Schroeder, D.C. Captains U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team

Sports Illustrated Features Dr. Schroeder

By Barbara Migliaccio

"The Consummate Olympian, U.S. captain Terry Schroeder embodies the old ideal of the amateur athlete," headlines the July 27th Sports Illustrated article.

The story, which is required reading for all DCs, focuses on the Palmer West graduate, his extensive involvement in water polo, and chiropractic.

The article addresses the Olympic captain as Dr. Schroeder, and details his extensive chiropractic family: His grandfather and father were both DCs, as are his brother, sister, seven cousins, brother-in-law, and wife Lori (Lori and Terry meet while at PCCW). Dr. Schroeder tabulates 59 DCs in his extended family!

Chronicling his childhood in Santa Barbara, the article quotes Dr. Schroeder praising chiropractic treatment: "I grew up seeing people arrive at my dad's office in pain and then watching them come out with a smile. I've never taken an aspirin or had a shot. I've always had chiropractic care as primary care, and I believe I'm in balance, that my immune system is better for it. I'm not saying there's no place for surgery, but the body will take care of itself if you let it." The author also notes that chiropractic is "now being accepted by the mainstream medical community."

Dr. Schroeder, 33, is a Pepperdine and Palmer West alumnus, and got his chiropractic degree in 1986. At Pepperdine, he was a three-time All-American. As a member of the 1980 Olympic water polo team, Terry's bid to compete was nixed by President Carter. "I wanted to have my Olympics when I was 21 and go right on to chiropractic school," he said. "But you can't control politics. I spent many nights crying in 1980, wondering why Carter was so determined to boycott the Games."

Dr. Schroeder plays a position referred to in water polo parlance as the "two-meter man," or "hole man," water polo's equivalent of a quarterback. This is the man who most often gets the ball and directs the play, and thus takes a heavy physical pounding from opponents. While most hole men only manage to compete a few years, Terry has somehow been able to compete for 14 years. This longevity has allowed him to make up for the disappointment of 1980, and go on to captain two U.S. Olympic teams and win the silver medals in 1984 (Seoul), and 1988 (L.A).

Prior to the L.A. Games, Dr. Schroeder was given the unique opportunity to symbolize the ideal Olympic athlete. In 1984, sculptor Robert Graham selected Dr. Schroeder's physique among many athletes to model for a nude bronze statue that was commissioned for the L.A. Games. The one male and one female headless statues, created to exemplify ancient Greek sculpting, were placed prominently above the L.A. Coliseum and drew a great deal of attention; they still do.

Dr. Schroeder left the national water polo team after the 1988 games to devote more time to his practice and spend more time with his wife. But he was drawn back by national coach Bill Barnett, who promised a part-time schedule that would allow Terry to keep up his practice and commitments at home.

Dr. Schroeder's leadership was instrumental for the team: At the World Cup in 1990 without him, the team finished eighth; when he rejoined the team in 1991, the U.S. was victorious in the World Cup, defeating the Spaniards in the semis 6-5 on a goal by Terry with two seconds left, and beating the Yugoslavians 7-6 in two overtimes in the final.

Dr. Schroeder often adjusts his teammates, and has treated some of his own competitors. Of the experience he said, "Recently I adjusted members of the Yugoslavian team, and they were amazed at the immediate improvement in body mobility and range of motion." He said that more and more coaches are listening to athletes' requests for chiropractic care.

At this writing, Dr. Schroeder is competing in the Barcelona Olympics. "DC" wishes the U.S. water polo the best, and applauds captain Schroeder for the praise and respect that he is garnering for chiropractic.

Barbara Migliaccio
Second Assistant Editor


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