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Dr. Bill Moreau plus other Olympic alumni

When you think about it, it isn’t surprising the managing director of sports medicine for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is a chiropractor. Olympic and Paralympic athletes recognize the benefits of chiropractic and have been requesting for years that chiropractors be part of the health-care team during and between the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Providing gold-medal care for Olympic athletes

Photo by Brad Armstrong Photography
Dr. Bill Moreau posing in front of USA Olympic Sports Medicine Banner

“My career at the USOC began nearly eight years ago, when I served as manager of the USOC’s flagship clinic in Colorado Springs,” says the USOC’s Managing Director of Sports Medicine William Moreau, D.C., DACBSP, Davenport ’81.

“As the athletes and staff came to recognize the benefits of conservative, multiple-disciplinary musculo-skeletal care, the athletes drove the demand for a team approach to the care needs. The USOC is unique in the delivery of high-performance care at the Olympic and Paralympic levels.”

Today, Dr. Moreau oversees all USOC sports-medicine clinics, Olympic and Paralympic Games planning and staffing, and the USOC National Medical Network. He’ll also be the first doctor of chiropractic to serve as a chief medical officer for an Olympic team at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Life should be an adventure. “In my opinion, there are two ways to live our lives: take the most comfortable path in front of us, or challenge ourselves and take risks,” he says. “The concept that we can never become more if we don’t try changed my life. I’m committed to making life an adventure, and it’s been a great trip so far. I’m looking forward to continuing the adventure!”

That adventure includes leading the team of interdisciplinary health-care professionals who provide care to Team USA athletes through more than 25,000 Olympic and Paralympic clinical interactions each year. Team USA uses chiropractic care for many reasons, Dr. Moreau says. “Sometimes the care is for the daily ache and grind of the professional athlete, for sport performance outcomes or to treat injuries. Both summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes have common injuries, as well as sport-specific injuries. You need to fully understand the demands of sport in order to best help the athletes.”

Chiropractic care helps drive high-performance outcomes, Dr. Moreau adds, “by helping the athlete to reload and get ready for the next day of practice or competition grind. If we can help them recover and physically perform the next day, the target is for the athlete to reach the pinnacle of their potential at the Olympic or Paralympic Games.”

Access to conservative care such as chiropractic is important to the athletes. “The athletes vote with their feet by choosing those providers who can help them the best,” he says. “The conservative health-care providers are in high demand.”

As for his upcoming “adventure” as the chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic Team, Dr. Moreau is gearing up to help his team of health-care providers focus on each athlete’s needs.

“The job is both challenging and rewarding,” he says. “I enjoy the opportunity to build teams of providers. When we work together and focus on the athlete, we can move mountains to help that individual achieve greatness. There will be more than 100 health-care providers supporting Team USA in Brazil, including approximately 15 chiropractors, and my job is to bring them together as The Team Behind the Team.”

While Dr. Moreau is the “top Olympic doc” for Team USA, he’s one of a number of Palmer alumni who care for America’s most elite athletes. We’re featuring several of those alumni with ties to the Summer Olympics.

Dr. Ira Shapiro: an early ground-breaker

Dr. Ira Shapiro adjusts U.S. wrestling legend Rulan Gardner in Athens.
Dr. Ira Shapiro leaning over Rulan Gardner on adjustment table

Ira Shapiro, D.C., Davenport ‘83, vividly recalls his experiences as an attending chiropractic physician for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team at the games in Athens, Greece. Based on a lengthy evaluation process, Dr. Shapiro was chosen by the USOC as only the ninth chiropractor named to the medical staff of a U.S. Olympic Team. That August he met the needs of nearly 550 American athletes participating in the competition.

This involved long days before and during the three-week games. “As a member of the U.S. Olympic Team medical staff, you arrive about 10 days before the opening ceremonies,” he says. “The day starts at about 8 a.m. and can end at 11 p.m. For instance, from 8 until 8:45 a.m. the volleyball team comes to the clinic to prepare for their 9 a.m. morning practice. Then the swimmers might come in from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. to prepare for their 9:30 a.m. practice. By the time the last team goes out for their morning practice, the group that arrived at 8 a.m. is already back for their after-practice care. When you’re finished with everyone’s after-practice care around 2 p.m., the group that came in at 8 a.m. is now back in the clinic to prepare for their afternoon practice. There’s a constant flow of athletes throughout the day.”

Some of the athletes attributed their success, at least in part, to chiropractic care. “There’s no greater feeling than when an athlete comes to you wearing a gold medal and says, ‘Thank you. I couldn’t have done this without your help.’ ”

Chiropractors are part of the medical team because the athletes want them there, Dr. Shapiro adds. “After a lifetime of training and treating pain and injuries, they understand the benefits of chiropractic care. First-hand experience has told them our expertise helps them perform better. They realize the chiropractor corrects the biomechanical misalignments that hinder performance, and through correction of these misalignments they gain the ability to perform at much higher levels.”

What words of advice does he have for chiropractors who want to work with elite athletes? “The ability to treat elite athletes starts at the very basic level,” he says. “The chiropractor should begin with the sports they’re most familiar, including the ones they’ve played. This knowledge will provide a deeper understanding of the biomechanics and injuries associated with that sport.”

He also advocates becoming proficient in soft tissue and functional taping techniques along with spinal and extremity manipulation skills. “Chiropractors should be certified in sports injury techniques to learn the basics and then work actively in the field to further the principles taught in those programs. As your skills and reputation for treating sports injuries grows, so will the opportunities for treating more diverse athletes, and even those competing at the highest levels.”

Dr. Karla Solum: Team Chiropractor, USA Beach Volleyball

Achieving one’s goals often comes after personal sacrifice.

Dr. Karla Solum sitting on adjustment table with fitness posters in background

For Karla Solum, D.C., CCSP®, San Jose ’10, achieving her goal of developing a sports-focused practice and working with elite athletes not only required a hefty investment of volunteer time, but also the costs incurred when traveling from her home state of Minnesota to California, Florida, Illinois and Louisiana to provide care at events sponsored by the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) and USA Beach Volleyball.

Treating and earning the respect of these world-class volleyball players led to an invitation to travel and provide care for the team at U.S. and international events. During the past five years, Dr. Solum, who now maintains her primary practice at Elevate Human Potential in Moorhead, Minn., has traveled to provide care at AVP and FIVB (Federation of International Volleyball) tournaments in Brazil, China, Finland, Guatemala, Norway, Puerto Rico, Switzerland and other global destinations.

American flag designed to look like a volleyball with USA Volleyball beneath it

“Our athletes are very in tune with their bodies, and are great about seeking our help when they don’t feel quite on their game,” says Dr. Solum. She also has provided care for USA teams in track and field, weight lifting and luge, in addition to sharing her sports-chiropractic skills at extreme sport events such as the Dew Tour in Colorado.

“We’ll do whatever we can to help them elevate their game—and any time you can help an athlete reach his or her full potential, then you’ve done your job.”

Dr. Solum credits her Palmer education, and the experience she gained from multiple Sports Council events, for helping her develop the necessary skills to care for world-class athletes.

“The main reason I was selected by USA Volleyball was due to all the on-field experience I gained from Sports Council events as a student, and the amount of time I volunteered as a young doctor,” says Dr. Solum. “I had to pay a lot of money to volunteer at times—but the learning experience I gained from volunteering for those events is what helped me gain the confidence in treatment methods and on-field procedures, which I needed to move up to the professional level.”

At press time, Dr. Solum, who served as medical director of the Sea Otter Classic cycling festival in Monterey (2007-2009) and the Kaiser Half- Marathon (2007-2008), was among the group of USA Volleyball chiropractors awaiting confirmation regarding travel to Brazil to provide care at this summer’s Olympic Games.

“I absolutely love working with athletes—and it just so happens I get to work with some high-caliber athletes,” she says. “I would love to treat at an Olympic Games someday, if not Rio in 2016, then hopefully in 2020!”

Dr. Dustin Glass: USA Volleyball indoor team chiropractor since 2010

Dr. Dustin Glass standing with arms crossed with USA Volleball sign in background

Dustin Glass, D.C., CCSP®, San Jose ’03, official chiropractor for USA Volleyball for the past six years, vividly recalls the exhilarating emotions he felt standing on the podium with the coach and players during the medal ceremony at the 2014 International Volleyball World Championships in Italy, when the U.S. women’s team won for the first time.

As he watched the raising of the American flag while the U.S. national anthem roared from the arena speakers, Dr. Glass found himself reflecting on his days as a Palmer student, when he spent many less-than-glamorous evenings picking up dirty athletic tape and sweaty towels and delivering water to the field as a volunteer assistant for the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League.

“As a former athlete, I’m all about teamwork— and for the team to win, each member has to put in the work, and put your ego and pride to the side,” says Dr. Glass, who maintains his primary practice at Competitive Edge Chiropractic & Sports Wellness in southern California, where USA Volleyball is headquartered.

Dr. Glass has served as a member of the sportsmedicine team for USA Volleyball (men’s and women’s) since 2010. After two months of demonstrating strong treatment skills and developing a good working relationship with the athletic trainers for the men’s and women’s teams, he earned the appointment as the official chiropractor, which has included trips to provide care at events in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Italy and Japan.

During the USA Volleyball season (May to October), Dr. Glass visits the team’s training facility in Anaheim once or twice each week. He meets with the head athletic trainer for player evaluations and to determine the appropriate treatment protocol for each athlete.

“Being on the same page and communicating a lot is the key to working as a member of any sportsmedicine team,” says Dr. Glass, who also is team chiropractor for the LA KISS of the Arena Football League, and serves as chiropractic consultant for the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League.

USA Volleball ball design

“It starts with the trainer or doctor in charge of the medical team. If they see a benefit in what you do, so will the athletes. Since I provide some type of care to about 90 percent of the players, that illustrates the degree to which they recognize how chiropractic benefits their bodies and on-court performance.”

At press time, Dr. Glass wasn’t sure if he’d be traveling with Team USA to the Summer Olympics in Brazil. Regardless, he’s proud to have a hand in the team’s on-court performance and keeps on striving toward his ultimate goal.

“I remember telling one of my former Palmer instructors, who was one of the first chiropractors to treat Olympic athletes, that I was going to follow in his footsteps,” adds Dr. Glass. “He just smirked and gave me a ‘good luck’ smile of encouragement. From that moment, every decision I’ve made in my career has been predicated upon putting myself in positions to help my dream come true.”

Dr. Heather Bowyer: Treating elite and everyday athletes

Dr. Heather Bowyer helps students be better sports chiropractors.
Dr. Heather Bowyer standing in front of American gymnast watercolor painting

“Taking what we learn in the clinic and classroom out into the sports field or arena is really where the students get a chance to see how chiropractic can make a difference in an athlete’s health and performance. This hands-on experience is what helps Palmer grads excel in careers that involve sports and chiropractic.”

In the winter of 2011, a group of track-and-field athletes hopeful of making the 2012 Summer Olympics teams began training at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. Their coach, a Florida native, moved the team from Atlanta where they had previously been training.

These athletes, who competed in events such as the heptathlon, women’s 100- and 200-meter sprints and relays as well as the long- and triple-jump, were representing the U.S. and other countries. While in Atlanta, they were treated by a chiropractor on a regular basis. It was through a network of D.C.s and CCSPs that their coach found Heather Bowyer, D.C., San Jose ‘06, a faculty clinician at Palmer’s Port Orange Clinic and faculty adviser for the Port Orange Campus Sports Council.

“Chiropractic was a required part of their training regimen,” she says. “All the athletes we treated were required to meet with a team of health-care providers on a regular basis.” In total, Dr. Bowyer and her clinic interns treated 14 athletes as they prepared for the Olympic Games. “Out of the four U.S. athletes who qualified for the summer games, two won gold medals. It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to work with elite-level athletes in a learning environment.”

Since coming to Port Orange from Palmer’s San Jose campus, Dr. Bowyer has helped build the Port Orange Sports Council. Many of the students seeking a career in sports chiropractic end up working with her either in the clinic or at a sports-related event in the community.

A fresh look at 1992 photo of ‘Consummate Olympian’

Allison (Schroeder) Mankey, D.C., points to herself in the Sports Illustrated photo.
Dr. Allison Mankey holding old Sports Illustrated photo where she is hiding behind the saccrum

In July 1992, prior to the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Sports Illustrated magazine published a profile on four-time Olympic waterpolo player (and San Jose ’86 alumnus) Terry Schroeder, D.C, (front and center) which heralded him as “The Consummate Olympian.”

The article featured a photo of Dr. Schroeder flanked by members of the Schroeder chiropractic family (totaling more than twice the amount pictured) standing adjacent to the Palmer Spine. To the casual eye it appears there are 35 chiropractors standing with the spine. However, the photo features 38 members of the Schroeder chiropractic family—you just have to look hard to spot the other three.

The three most-recent additions to the Schroeder chiropractic family (which now totals 78 doctors) were children at the time of the Sports Illustrated photo: San Jose campus alumna Allison (Schroeder) Mankey, D.C. (who graduated in 2011 as Schroeder family chiropractor number 74); Rebecca Schroeder, D.C. (2015 graduate and number 78); and Torrey Schroeder, D.C. (2015 graduate and Schroeder family chiropractor number 77).

Dr. Terry Schroeder participated in three Olympics as a player and two as a coach, and also had the honor of carrying the U.S. flag in the closing ceremonies of the ’88 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Dr. Terry Schroeder standing next to Olympic photographs of himself on the wall

“From what my dad (Dr. Thomas Schroeder, Davenport ’85) tells me, partway through the photo shoot, Torrey, Ali and I were getting bored, and wandered onto the set and found our way to our fathers’ feet,” says Dr. Rebecca Schroeder, who’s now practicing with her father in Fresno, Calif. “We were just horsing around, having fun, as kids do,” she says. “My dad wasn’t too concerned with keeping us out of the photo, so he simply nudged us behind the sacrum and let us be. If you look closely at the Sports Illustrated photo (pictured on page 18), you can see our heads peeking out from small openings in the segment.”

“I don’t remember the day, because we were very young, so it’s fun to listen to stories, and learn the background of the photo from the adults’ point of view. It just makes me so proud to be part of this family tradition,” says Dr. Torrey Schroeder, who practices at Midtown Natural Health in Palo Alto, Calif.

“We’re all so grateful, blessed and proud to be part of my family’s history, passion and love for chiropractic,” said Dr. Allison Mankey, who practices with her husband, Graham Mankey, D.C., San Jose ’11, in Paso Robles, Calif.

Perhaps proudest of all is their second cousin, Dr. Terry Schroeder, who earned silver and bronze medals as a member and three-time captain of the U.S. men’s water-polo teams of the ’80, ’84, ’88 and ’92 Summer Olympics. He also coached the U.S. men’s team that won the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China.

“I often show patients the girls’ faces hiding in the photo and tell them with great pride they’re all now chiropractors,” says Dr. Terry Schroeder, who practices with his wife, Lori Bell-Schroeder, D.C., San Jose ’86, in Agoura Hills, Calif. He’s entering his 24th season as the head coach of the waterpolo program at his undergraduate alma mater, Pepperdine University.

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