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Multi-sport Athlete and Veteran Promotes Health through Chiropractic

Eddu Ruzga in military gear.Eddy Ruzga, a fourth-trimester student at Palmer’s Main Campus, grew up as a multi-sport athlete, ultimately playing football for United States Military Academy West Point before attending Palmer College to earn his Doctor of Chiropractic degree.  

For Eddy, chiropractic care has always been more than just a profession – it’s a family legacy. Eddy’s late father was a Doctor of Chiropractic, a career path he took after playing as a defensive end for the Detroit Lions. 

“Having a dad who was a chiropractor made my time as an athlete so much better. Throughout my time playing football, wrestling, and track, it was always reassuring to know that no matter what injury I faced, chiropractic would be there,” he said.  

Following his graduation with a degree in engineering management from West Point, Eddy served six years in the military as a 2nd lieutenant then Captain with the U.S. Army, leading a group of soldiers. 

“You get to be a part of their everyday lives – the highs and the lows, sometimes very low. Suicide is unfortunately a huge issue in the military, and I personally had a couple of friends die by suicide. When I would talk to my soldiers, sometimes you get the impression that something isn’t right. I would intentionally pull them aside and spend as long as they needed to just talk and to show that someone really cared, and it made all the difference in the world. I felt such a sense of fulfillment being able to use my experiences to help someone else, that seemed more like a calling to me. I realized I just wanted to help people.”  

That ability to connect with people is one of the many things that drew Eddy to the chiropractic profession. “Chiropractic gives you a chance to not only help people physically but also connect with them on a personal level. I decided to apply to Palmer and do just that.” 

Despite the initial challenges of adjusting to a new field of study, he quickly embraced the curriculum and made his way onto the dean’s list.  

“I wasn’t really sure why we had to go so in-depth in some of these topics the first couple of trimesters. But as you get further along, you realize that those pieces all come together and really are important to build the foundation for the more hands-on and practical courses. All the hands-on teaching, such as palpation, cervical-thoracic, or clinical skills, kind of light a fire under you and get you really excited about your future. After all the biochemistry, CNS and anatomy courses, it’s such a morale boost when you get the chance to start putting that knowledge into practice,” said Eddy. 

Palmer College and the Quad Cities area have exceeded Eddy’s expectations.  

Eddy Ruzga playing football.“My parents wouldn’t even recognize the campus today, there have been so many positive changes since when they were here. It’s got all the amenities I could hope for, from the classrooms and labs to the common areas, coffee shops, study area, and library. The gym is incredible too, we spend a lot of time there playing pickleball after classes and sometimes the instructors join us for a few games. There are always events going on and opportunities to connect with classmates and alumni.” 

As Eddy looks towards the future, he sees chiropractic care as a means of promoting health, strengthening family bonds, and laying a solid foundation for future generations.  

For him, Palmer College represents not only a place of education but also a platform for personal growth and professional development. Eddy’s advice to students is to trust yourself and your abilities.  

Palmer College of Chiropractic has invested in new buildings, classrooms, student housing, and study spaces. View our campus enhancements to learn more.