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Ira Shapiro, D.C., DACBSP, Davenport ’83

A number of Palmer graduates have moved chiropractic from the doctor’s office to the playing field, providing the benefits of chiropractic to a wide variety of athletes. From traditional and arena football, to soccer, mixed martial arts and the Olympics, alumni are playing a vital role in the teams they serve.
Sasha Cohen and Dr. Ira Shapiro

STATS: Appointed by the U.S. Olympic Committee to provide chiropractic care to the U.S. Olympic Team at the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2006 Winter Olympics

How long have you been a sports chiropractor? I’ve practiced sports chiropractic since 1983.

What does it take to be selected to the medical staff of the U.S. Olympic Committee? The Olympic selection process is long and rigorous. For me, it began in 1996 after completing the prerequisites. I was chosen by a committee of peers to attend a two-week internship at the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Based on my sports clinical expertise and the ability to operate smoothly with Olympic athletes, administrators and other physicians, I was then selected to support our country’s athletic efforts at several international events leading up to the 2004 Olympics.

Why is it important for chiropractors to be on hand at the Olympics? The Olympics provide the perfect arena to demonstrate the value of chiropractic care. Since the intake of medications is highly regulated throughout the competition, physicians are generally limited to the type of treatment they can provide and let the athlete compete. As a result, the Olympic chiropractor can be the busiest person in the clinic.

Is there an especially memorable experience to share after two Olympic Games? There is nothing more rewarding and aweinspiring than watching an Olympic athlete win a gold medal in their event and then walk up to you to say, “Thank you. I could not have done this without your help.” These are the absolutely unforgettable moments that make the sacrifice, time and trip worthwhile. These moments also form the bonds that will last a lifetime.

What knowledge have you gained from being a sports chiropractor? Throughout the events, there is literally no separation between you, the athletes and the coaches. However, after several days jammed in the same quarters, it becomes apparent that they are just ordinary people who can do extraordinary things. In addition, many of these people are the most gracious, giving people you will ever meet.

How did your time at Palmer prepare you for where you are now? My Palmer education provided the foundation for my career. It not only gave me the necessities to succeed as a sports chiropractor, but also taught me the importance of meeting patients’ needs with compassion, understanding and patience.

Providing care in a variety of arenas:
Dr. Shapiro has earned the Diplomate of the American Board of Sports Physicians and over the last 20 years served as attending physician at regional, national and international sporting events such as the World Championship of Free-Style Wrestling, the Gatorade Ironman Triathlon World Championship and the National Collegiate Tae Kwan Do Championship.

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