Florida Campus

Sports Council raises the bar

At the beginning of 2009, Heather Bowyer, D.C., was appointed to coordinate the fledgling Florida Campus Sports Council. Dr. Bowyer, also an instructor and faculty clinician, is a 2006 graduate of Palmer’s West Campus. Her participation with the well-established West Campus Sports Council is what sparked her interest in treating athletes through sports chiropractic.

“Sports Council is a great opportunity for students to work with athletes and to promote chiropractic in the community,” says Dr. Bowyer. “The experience and knowledge gained is invaluable, and none of it would be possible without the hard work of a very talented and committed group of students. The executive officers work very hard at organizing the events, scheduling student coverage and making sure that all necessary supplies are available. Without their dedication, the experience that so many of our current students and graduates have gained would not be possible.”

Current Sports Council members with advisers Dr. Heather Bowyer (right) and Dr. Tom Young (left).
Sports Council members with Drs. Bowyer and Young

In 2009, the Florida Campus Sports Council participated in two events. One was at the Chiro Games and the other with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), headquartered in Daytona Beach, which was the first external organization to partner with the Florida Campus Sports Council. In 2010 the number of events grew to 20 and this past year the Sports Council participated in 39 events. The variety in the types of events and sports allows the 59 student interns currently in the program to experience treating athletes in three different tiers.

  • Tier 1 is made up of non-contact sports like running, tennis and golf.
  • Tier 2 includes incidental contact sports such as marathons, triathlons and baseball.
  • Tier 3 is for intentional contact sports, which include rugby, Chiro Games sports, basketball and martial arts.

Currently, in addition to running events such as Palmer’s own Palmer Paints the Towne and the Palmer Clinic’s Healthy Heart Run, the Florida Campus Sports Council partners with notable sports organizations including: the USTA, LPGA, NCAA, the Ragnar Relay and the Daytona Cubs. Preliminary discussions also have been held with the Daytona International Speedway and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

While the players and participants benefit from what is often their first experience with chiropractic in any setting, the student interns benefit in many different ways. “I am incredibly happy with the progress of the Sports Council over the past couple of years,” says exiting President Anthony Harris. “It has been an honor to serve our community and to directly impact the lives of so many people through chiropractic care. I have received great testimonials from event coordinators complimenting our poise on the field, professionalism and our healing touch. With that said, we couldn’t have grown and impacted the community the way we have without the support from Palmer, our adjunct clinicians, a group of hard-working officers, and especially from our adviser, Dr. Heather Bowyer.”

Joining Dr. Bowyer in supervising the Sports Council are other Certified Chiropractic Sports Physicians on the Florida Campus, including clinician instructors Tom Young, D.C. (Florida ’06), Steve Wooten, D.C. (Davenport ’98), Director of Clinics Shane Carter, D.C., M.B.A. (Florida ’05), and Carl Stephens, D.C. (Florida ’10).

The growth of the Sports Council has paralleled the interest in sports chiropractic both nationally and locally. Ryan Ronk, tournament marketing manager for the LPGA’s Symetra Tour, says, “Initially the interest in offering sports chiropractic for the players at our tournaments was lukewarm. Now the women request the availability of chiropractic care and utilize it enthusiastically.”

Current Sports Council President Sean Driscoll plans to continue developing the variety and number of events as well as increasing student participation. “The Sports Council has grown tremendously over the past few years and has given the student body a wealth of experience in treating athletes and being prepared to be health care providers at athletic events,” he says. “Although the club has seen an increase in numbers, we’d like to get more than one-third of the student body actively participating in events. We’re also striving to expand the variety of events to include more unconventional sports, such as wakeboarding and motocross. Our goal is to increase the awareness of chiropractic and its many to benefits to the community through our shared interest in sports.”

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