Dr. Ira A. Shapiro, director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center in Old Bridge, New Jersey, recently attended to the chiropractic needs of thousands of international athletes attending The 2013 World Games in Cali, Columbia. The event is held every four years under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee and serves as a competitive testing ground for sports not yet admitted to the Olympic Games. This year more than 4,000 participants representing over a hundred countries competed in 36 separate sports.
Dr. Shapiro was selected bythe International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS) to provide chiropractic care to the multinational teams of athletes, coaches and other participants competing in the Games from July 25 – August 4. He was joined by 30 additional sports chiropractic specialists from 13 countries and assigned to work with athletes participating in the bowling, inline hockey and dancesport competitions.
“It was an honor and privilege to join my professional colleagues from around the world at this event,” says Dr. Shapiro. “The perseverance and drive of the men and women that compete at this level, no matter the sport, never ceases to amaze me. These are truly gifted individuals, who are not only dedicated to excellence, but performing at the highest possible levels to ensure their respective sports receive the proper Olympic attention. Helping them reach their goals on a world stage such as this is always a reward in itself.”
Based in Cali for nearly two full weeks, Dr. Shapiro spent 12 to 15 hours each day attending to the physical needs of about 500 competitive bowlers, inline hickey players and dancers. This involved working with each person for 10 to 15 minutes per session to alleviate the painful and sometimes debilitating effects of a wide assortment of hip, shoulder, wrist, back and knee injuries. Included in this therapy was the quick evaluation of the problem source and then the application of the appropriate manipulation, soft tissue and kenesio tape techniques, which were sometimes administered only moments before the athlete’s next event.
“It was a snowball effect,” explains Shapiro. “There were numerous traumatic and overuse injuries that were hampering performances in addition to practice sessions. The word spread each time we successfully treated someone. As a result, by the end of each competition we were working non-stop morning till night. But, it was worth it. The athletes and their coaches could not be more appreciative and the atmosphere could not have been better-natured despite the intense competition.”
As for the personal and professional benefits, Dr. Shapiro is also never surprised about the many lessons learned from his participation at international events such as The World Games. “I’ve worked bowling in the past, so I’m well aware of the potential injuries and the methods needed to reduce pain and increase flexibility. However, ballroom dancing was a new experience. The strenuous nature of the sport and the conditioning needed to perform on this stage is phenomenal. It was a pleasure to witness its intensity and beauty close-up,” he adds.
Dr. Ira A. Shapiro is the director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center, which he founded in Old Bridge, New Jersey in 1984. Throughout the past three decades he has provided safe, gentle and effective chiropractic care to tens of thousands of patients ranging from community members to professional athletes competing at the highest international levels.