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Dynamic Chiropractic – June 7, 1991, Vol. 09, Issue 12

Soviet Marathon Team Chooses U.S. Chiropractor as Team Doctor

By David Prokop
Gregory Vinjar, head coach of the Leningrad team to the Los Angeles Marathon was frantic. His premiere athlete, Olga Markova, woke up with her face as big as a basketball. Her eyes were two slits, she could barely see, and her face was so swollen she was almost unrecognizable. She found it impossible to breathe through her nose, and she could barely breathe through her mouth. It was only four days before the race.

Suddenly, the thought hit Coach Vinjar: Dr. Leroy Perry of the International Sports Medicine Institute in Los Angeles. Dr. Vinjar remembered attending a lecture presented by Leroy Perry, D.C., in Leningrad the previous June, at the 2nd Soviet Symposium of Sports Medicine. Perhaps Dr. Perry could help the Soviet runner.

Coach Vinjar brought Olga to Dr. Perry. After a thorough examination, Dr. Perry determined that Olga had an infected tooth, possibly nerve and root related. He immediately called his Pasadena office where he shares space with Dr. Lennox Miller, a dentist, who was once an Olympic sprinter (and a member, with O.J. Simpson, of USC's former world-record 4 x 100 relay team).

Dr. Miller examined Olga, concurred with Dr. Perry's diagnosis and surgically drained the infected gum and canal. Medically, the normal procedure in such cases is to use antibiotics to combat the infection and reduce swelling. But for an athlete with a competition coming up, particularly a marathon, antibiotics would weaken the system to such an extent, the individual wouldn't be competitive. There had to be another answer, and Dr. Perry found it.

"We had to get her own immune system working as fast as possible," says Dr. Perry, "and Olga was not only having difficulty breathing, but she had already lost two days of training, so time was of the essence.

"I immediately started her on an antioxidant vitamin regimen that included 5,000 mg of vitamin C, a specialized antioxidant compound we have used with athletes for years, and DMG (Dymethyl Glycine). We also used iontophoresis and phonophoresis with iodine and MgSo4, plus sinewave pulse. We did double treatments daily, and she was instructed on how to use cryotherapy and contrast therapy at her hotel.

"By Sunday, March 3, race day, her swelling was down about 95 percent, with only residual soreness. Her gums had regained normal color and she had full sensation in her upper lip and face."

The rest, as they say, is history. In the 1991 Los Angeles Marathon, where Dr. Perry served as official team doctor for the Soviet contingent, Olga placed third in the women's division, winning $20,000 (which is paid to the Soviet Athletic Federation). Almost unbelievably, she improved on her best time by four minutes.

The real victory, of course, is that Olga was able to run at all. The fact she was able to do so, with such remarkable results, is just another chapter in the growing success story of chiropractic and other health professionals working together to help athletes. After the race, in a national television interview, Dr. Perry gave credit to Dr. Miller and publicly thanked him on behalf of the Soviet team.

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