West Campus

No place like home for Olympic alumni

Dr. Richard Robinson, center, surrounded by Sidney Crosby, left, and Hayley Wickenheiser, of the Canadian men’s and women’s gold-medal winning hockey teams, respectively. Mr. Crosby scored the game-winning goal in the overtime championship game.
Sidney Crosby, Dr. Richard Robinson and Hayley Wickenheiser

Providing care for athletes at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games would be a thrilling experience for any sports-focused chiropractor. But West Campus alumni Richard Robinson, D.C., ’96, and Gregory Uchacz, D.C., ’92, have enjoyed this experience multiple times for Canadian teams at Winter and Summer games. So, with Vancouver, B.C., hosting this year’s Winter Games, it was the thrill of a lifetime for both doctors.

“Nothing can match being a member of a team competing in your own country; what a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Dr. Uchacz, director of the Chiropractic Performance & Sports Therapy Centre in Calgary, Alta., who has been a member of the Canadian team sports care staff for previous Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah (2002), and Turin, Italy (2006).

For the first time in Olympic history, chiropractic was included with Host Health Care services under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Host Health Care is the entire medical support network for the Olympic Games, and is accessible by all athletes, support staff and volunteers involved in the competition.

Canadian sports chiropractor Dr. Greg Uchacz, center, with Canadian Olympians Lyndon Rush and Cori Bartel. Mr. Rush was pilot of the Canadian Bobsleigh 4, which won bronze, while Ms. Bartel won silver in women’s curling.
Lyndon Rush, Dr. Greg Uchacz and Cori Bartel

“Chiropractic is certainly gaining acclaim with athletes. There were four chiropractors on the Canadian medical team alone,” said Dr. Uchacz, who worked closely with the Canadian skeleton and bobsleigh teams.

“Our involvement has evolved for many reasons,” he said. “With more and more athletes accessing sports chiropractic, there are greater requests for our services. A total of 22 chiropractors participated in the Host Health Care services. This was monumental for chiropractic.”

For Dr. Robinson, who provided care for Canadian athletes at the 2006 Winter Olympics and the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, this year’s Olympics was a particularly exhilarating experience, as he is a native of Vancouver.

“My goal upon graduating from Palmer was to one day be a chiropractor providing care for athletes at the Olympics,” said Dr. Robinson, who also practices in Calgary and has worked with the Canadian freestyle skiing, speed skating, women’s hockey and alpine ski teams.

“The Torino and Beijing Games were amazing experiences. But to be a chiropractor for the host country, in my hometown? It doesn’t get much better than that!”

Both Dr. Robinson, who founded the West Campus Sports Council in 1994, and Dr. Uchacz credit their West Campus experience for helping them achieve their Olympic goals.

“Palmer was my foundation; it shaped me as a practitioner,” said Dr. Uchacz, who is serving his fourth term as president of the College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences of Canada, the national governing body of sports chiropractic.

“What a legacy Palmer continues through its Sports Council program. To see a full contingent of West Campus Sport Council members attend last year’s International Sports Symposium at the WFC in Montreal was amazing.”

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