This year's three-day event, covered by international fitness and powerlifting magazines, featured over 200 competitors from 16 countries, including South Africa, Great Britain, Italy, France, Canada, China, and the U.S. Local chiropractor David Ryan was director of health services for the competition, organizing more than 42 various health professionals including a cardiologist, a massage therapist, DCs, MDs from Ohio State University, and even a psychologist.
Many of the weightlifters clamored for adjustments -- and interpreters. The chiropractic staff adjusted nearly all the competing athletes; some had never been exposed to manipulation before. The Italy team offered to pay to bring DCs to future championships.
"No one has organized this caliber of a competition before, and the lifters are just raving about having chiropractic and other medical staff here to help them recover between lifts," said meet director Gary Benford.
One of the most inspiring lifters was the spry 72-year-old Mac Richardson, competing at 196 pounds. He benched 335 lbs., squated 458 lbs., and made a deadlift of 479 lbs. He visits a chiropractor regularly and praised the availability of doctors at the event.
Also in attendance was Robin Hunter, DC, DACBSP, former president of the ACA's chiropractic sports medicine committee. Dr. Hunter worked relentlessly over 12 hours, treating some lifters weighing in at over 350 pounds.
Medical staff members commented that after watching the chiropractors treat athletes, they could now understand how chiropractic and medicine can work together for the benefit of the competitors. "It's the old boy network that we are waiting to move out, so us younger doctors can put away the old, ridiculous attitudes and start to get down to the business of working together and finding out what really helps patients," said Frank Lorch, MD.
Preparing to Cover a Sporting Event
Dr. Ryan noted that powerlifting and other sports are in desperate need of chiropractic services, and gives this advice:
Call the meet director and volunteer your professional care. You may suggest organizing the medical team, an enviable position that allows you to solicit volunteers for the medical staff. One good source is college and university graduate students and medical residents, many of which are happy to assist with sporting events. Once the event is started you must establish triage procedures. Be prepared to explain what you are doing every step of the way -- even have some research material on hand for further information. It's also helpful to show the medical staff what you mean by fixations/subluxations so they can refer them to you for treatment; this will help them think of you as a colleague.
Treating athletes is a great way to introduce yourself to the world, and it carries a very powerful message -- chiropractic gets results.
If you are a student, and are interested in working with Dr. Ryan, please write him at 5870 Cleveland Ave., Columbus, OH 43231.