Unseasonably warm weather, the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, and a record-setting crowd combined to make this year’s Sea Otter cycling event another “classic” experience for the West Campus Sports Council. For the 11th year in a row, Palmer has served as the primary sports care provider of the largest bicycling competition and expo festival in the United States, which celebrated its 20th anniversary April 18-21 at Mazda International Speedway in Monterey.
The Sea Otter Classic (SOC) bills itself as “a celebration of cycling.” And virtually every type of athletic endeavor that can be performed on two-wheels – whether speeding around the 2.2-mile track at the former Laguna Seca Raceway, barreling down a mountain-side course, or performing backward flips in the air – is on display during the four-day festival. It draws riders ranging from pee-wee peddlers to professional and elite-level cyclists.
“Once again, our students made me very proud,” said Edward Feinberg, D.C., West Campus Sports Council faculty advisor, who has been a part of every Palmer-associated Sea Otter event – as a clinician as well as a competitor! “They fully embraced the team approach to sports chiropractic management, assisted and encouraged one another, and sought help whenever they were unsure of the appropriate ‘best –practice’ approaches. They worked long hours -- with no compensation other than the pure satisfaction of helping fellow humans reach their optimal performance.”
The Sea Otter is one of the Sports Council’s busiest events, and this year was no different. The Council cared for more than 400 patients during the four days of the event.
In addition to traditional chiropractic services, the Sports Council team, which included a rotating team of five clinicians and nearly 80 lower-quarter and intern-level students, tended to the wide range of conditions that the athletes (and even some spectators) typically present, ranging from minor cuts, abrasions, sprains and strains, to concussions and fractures.
“Our students had the opportunity to evaluate and manage many cases involving care for athletes -- many of whom had their first chiropractic experience at this event; many were regular chiropractic patients who needed additional care; and many were Sea Otter regulars returning for care from our Sports Council,” said Dr. Feinberg.
Other clinicians who assisted with management of care over the course of the four-day event included fellow West alumni and faculty members Pauline Anderson, D.C. (’90), Mehdi Moossavi, D.C., (’92), and Jonathan Slater, D.C. (’97), all of whom are CCSP-credentialed.
In addition to teaching a portion of the Sports Chiropractic elective on the West Campus, visiting West alumnus Richard Robinson, D.C. (’96), who maintains a practice at LifeMark Health in Calgary, brought his experience of providing care to members of the Canadian Olympic teams to the Sea Otter for two days as a Sports Council clinician.
“Dr. Moossavi, in particular, provides the primary consistency at Sea Otter, which is valuable for the athlete who needs management for several days, as well as in the maintenance of interprofessional relationships with the firefighters, paramedics, and ski patrol who work alongside us each year,” said Dr. Feinberg.
Another source of continuity and consistency comes in the form of the event’s primary medical director, which for each of the past seven years has been a West Campus alumnus: Dr. Michael Lord (West ’10), from 2010 to 2013, and Dr. Goldi Jacques Maynes (West ’07) for the Sea Otter events from 2007-2009. The medical coordinator is responsible for oversight and direction of the multiple health care providers (EMTs, police, fire, wilderness rescue, etc.) who comprise the collective team that is involved with managing minor-to-major care for the thousands of athletes who compete each year in the various SOC events.
“Having the Sports Council run both of the medical tents at the SOC provides an incredible resource,” said Dr. Lord, a past president of the West Sports Council, who maintains a practice at Avanzaré Chiropractic Sport Therapy in San Francisco, and also serves as an ACA Sports Council executive committee member. “I don't know of many events that offer the level of care provided at the Sea Otter, and the athletes, as well as the spectators, are lucky to have this level of sports medicine available.”
“The Sea Otter Classic provides a great opportunity for me and fellow students – who will become my colleagues in practice -- to see the future of the chiropractic profession,” said Nichelle Francavilla, West Sports Council president. “The students at this year’s Sea Otter event showed me they are not only going to be great doctors, but more important, that they are able to work as a team. The students that work at the Sea Otter event gain so much experience in on-field exams and diagnosis, which gives them advanced experience in the field of sports chiropractic before they graduate.”