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When the Olympians come calling

Local chiropractor Dr. Dave Gabay will treat Olympic athletes when they spend time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid at the end of October.

Local chiropractor Dr. Dave Gabay will treat Olympic athletes when they spend time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid at the end of October. Submitted photo

— There are only about 130 chiropractors that have the certification required to be considered by the Olympic Committee for a training center gig, which are unpaid.

“A lot of young guys and gals are not doing the certification because it’s an additional three years, you’ve got to be published, do practical exams, written requirements, it’s a lot of work,” said Gabay, who thinks that might be a reason the committee is pulling second rotations from doctors like him.

Gabay has been practicing for 30 years and said he was one of the first chiropractors to get the extra certification. The first time he was asked to train athletes before the Olympics in Atlanta, he said he was excited.

“I was thrilled the first time because it’s the cream of the crop that really gets chosen to do these assignments. It’s a feather in your cap,” said Gabay. “I had been practicing for 15 years, I had cut my teeth.”

Many of the athletes he treated during his first go-around were suffering from chronic overuse syndromes and plagued with past injuries. For example, when the weight lifting team arrived at the training center in Colorado Springs, four out of the 12 individuals were slated to sit out the Olympics. With Gabay’s help, though, they made it to their dream.

“We got them to the point where they could compete and they went to Atlanta and competed,” said Gabay. “That was a wonderful feeling and to get the phone calls and letters afterward saying ‘Doc, thanks for your help,’ that’s what it’s all about. That’s what the training is all about. It’s good to give back.”

Treating Olympic athletes isn’t much different than working with his everyday patients, said Gabay.

“When I have just the average individual coming in as a patient and dealing with debilitating back pain, there’s pressure to try and do your best for every patient get them better because they’ve got to maintain a job and family,” said Gabay. “That’s the same with Olympic athletes but it’s cranked up a little more.”

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