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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 1, 2004, Vol. 22, Issue 18

Making History in Athens

Two DCs Appointed to U.S. Olympic Medical Team

By Editorial Staff
In 1896, the Greek city of Athens played host to the first modern Olympic Games. Held in the Panathenaic Stadium in which the Olympics had originated more than 2,500 years earlier, the 1896 Olympics featured an estimated 245 athletes (all men) from 14 nations, and culminated with a victory by Spiridon Louis, a 24-year-old Greek shepherd, in the Games' signature event, the marathon.

One hundred and eight years later, the Olympics have returned to Athens, with a newly renovated stadium that will showcase the talents of more than 11,000 athletes representing 202 countries. The 2004 United States Olympic Team alone consists of approximately 550 athletes who will participate in sports ranging from basketball to track and field to synchronized swimming. Joining the athletes on their quest for excellence is a 47-member medical staff, comprised of highly qualified health care professionals from across the country. Among the members of the 2004 team are two doctors of chiropractic from New Jersey - Drs. Marc Jaffe and Ira Shapiro.

"This is the Olympic team of sports medical professionals in this country," said Ed Ryan, a member of the team and the director of sports medicine for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). "These men and women have proven themselves in a variety of top events and have made a difference in our athletes' performance."

Officially, Drs. Shapiro and Jaffe are only the eighth and ninth chiropractors to be selected by the USOC to represent the country at an Olympic event (Summer and Winter). In addition, the 2004 Olympics marks the first time that more than one doctor of chiropractic has been on the U.S. medical team at the same time. The USOC had named only one chiropractor to the medical staff for each Summer Olympics team dating back to 1980. In 2002, Dr. Robin Hunter of Columbus, Ohio, became the first chiropractor to serve with the U.S. sports medicine team at the Winter Olympics.

Selection to Medical Staff Took Years of Work

Making an Olympic team - either as an athlete or as part of the medical staff - takes years of intense training and dedication. Such was the case for Drs. Jaffe and Shapiro, whose Olympic odyssey began in 2000, when they and three other chiropractors were chosen by a committee of their peers to attend a two-week internship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. While there, the chiropractors were evaluated on their clinical sports expertise and ability to function with athletes, administrators and other physicians.

Next, Drs. Shapiro and Jaffe were selected by the USOC to support athletes at several events leading up to the 2004 Olympics. Dr. Jaffe worked with more than 150 U.S. athletes at the 2003 Summer World University Games in Daegu, South Korea, while Dr. Shapiro cared for nearly 200 U.S. athletes at the 2003 Titan Games in San Jose, Calif. Based on the performance of each chiropractor at those events, Drs. Jaffe and Shapiro were officially notified in April 2004 that they would serve on the U.S. medical staff at this year's Olympic Games.

Who Are Marc Jaffe and Ira Shapiro?

Ira A. Shapiro, DC, is licensed to practice in New Jersey and New York, and is a diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. He has served as an attending physician at several regional, national and international sporting events, including the Gatorade Ironman Triathlon World Championship and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. His chiropractic and sports medicine skills have earned him dozens of citations and awards, including the "Sports Chiropractor of the Year" award from the New Jersey Chiropractic Society Sports Council in 2002, and a proclamation for chiropractic excellence from New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey. Dr. Shapiro graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1983, and directs a chiropractic practice in Old Bridge, N.J.

Marc P. Jaffe, DC, holds chiropractic licenses in New Jersey and Arizona. He graduated cum laude from Logan College of Chiropractic in 1985, and is also a diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians, having completed more than 800 hours of postgraduate studies in sports medicine and rehabilitation. Since 1988, he has served as an attending chiropractor at dozens of athletic events, including the U.S. Track and Field Championships, the Garden State Games, and the New York City Marathon. From 2002 to 2003, he served as the National Football League (NFL) Players Association's treating chiropractor for the New York Giants and New York Jets. Dr. Jaffe operates a chiropractic and sports center in Summit, N.J.

"There is no higher honor," said Dr. Shapiro. "We were selected by our peers and some of the best athletes, trainers and physicians in the country to represent our nation at one of the most highly visible events in the world."

"Although invisible to the outside world, our role is to help our Olympic athletes achieve peak athletic performances throughout the games," added Dr. Jaffe. "Their success will be our greatest reward."

Upon their arrival in Athens, the medical staff will accompany members of the U.S. Olympic Team to their practices in the days leading up to the start of the Games, and will provide care and treatment as needed. Staff members will also be on call at competitions to care for athletes and oversee their health care during the Olympics. Some of the staff will work at the U.S. Olympic Committee's medical clinic in the athlete's village, while a smaller contingent will be stationed at the American College of Greece, the training center for a variety of American athletes and teams.

"We feel that our athletes get the best medical care in the world," commented USOC Chief Executive and Chief of Sports Performance Jim Scherr. "We go to every length to care for these athletes who have accomplished their goals to get here. We want to make sure they take that next step with the best medical care available."

The 2004 Summer Olympics officially begin Aug. 13 and conclude Aug. 29.

Florida Chiropractor Earns a Different Kind of Olympic Berth

A few days before the Olympics begin, while Drs. Jaffe and Shapiro make preparations to treat their first group of patients, another chiropractor will represent the profession in Greece - but not in Athens. Scott Paton, DC, who runs a chiropractic and sports medicine clinic in Lutz, Fla., has been asked by the Scientific Committee of the 2004 Pre-Olympic Congress to deliver a one-hour oral presentation titled "Artificially Induced Leg Length Inequality and its Effect on Sway" in the northern city of Thessaloniki. According to the Federation Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport (FICS), the occasion marks the first time a doctor of chiropractic will give a presentation during the congress.

Dr. Paton learned of the honor this February, after submitting a paper on leg-length inequality to the congress last year. "I couldn't believe it when I got the acceptance letter," Paton said in an interview with the Tampa Tribune. He added that despite increased concerns about security and safety, he and his wife will make the trip overseas knowing that "this is going to really do so much good for the chiropractic profession and so much good for the athletic training profession."

Dr. Paton is a 2000 graduate of Life University. In addition to his chiropractic degree, he is a certified athletic trainer who has worked with the Atlanta Falcons football team and other sports teams throughout central Georgia. He also has a master's degree in sports injury management, and is licensed to practice in Georgia and Florida.

Editor's note: Look for a follow-up article detailing the chiropractic experience in Athens in a future issue of DC.

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