Integrated Sports Medical Team at the Judo Junior Olympics

Hey everyone, it's been a few weeks since I wrote on of these, but I am back and am so excited to tell you guys about my weekend!

For those of you who don't know, I was asked to be a part of the medical team for the USA Judo Junior Olympic National and International Championships up in Spokane, WA.  This event is held every year and is used to find participants for IJF World Team and is a medaling event as well to rank players within the Judo community.  I had never watched Judo before in my life, but I basically binge watched Judo like a someone who has never seen The Office on Netflix!


It may seem weird that working on a medical team over a weekend is enjoyable, but I had an absolute blast and I will tell you why- our team.  We had 1,100 competitors over 3 days with 6 mats that ran matches nearly constantly for 8 hours a day.  In Judo, the major objective to win over your opponent is a throw/takedown (or a "kill"), which involves overpowering and throwing your opponent to the ground.  Many things can go wrong, so it was our job to keep constant watch over the mats for injuries.


Our team comprised of 11 persons- we had 4 sports chiropractors (either DACBSP or CCSP), 6 athletic trainers/ATC students, and 1 medical doctor.  Dr. Lopez, who coordinated the team, is a fellow chiropractor who I had met a little over 3 years at an ART seminar in Las Vegas.  I ran into him again this past year at the ACBSP Sports Science Symposium in San Diego and was able to catch back up and hear all about the events he has been managing and he had invited me to come help him out at future events. 

Everyone played an important role on the team, despite all of us having different roles, specialities, and abilities, yet we all had the same goal- keep our athletes as safe as possible.  When healthcare professionals can realize their strengths and weaknesses, limitations in scope and abilities, and recognize who can supplement or help out for the patient, we all win.  I think too many times in both the sideline and clinical settings, we try to be too much for all of our patients, and when we try to be a jack of all trades, we actually fail the patient.  But if we all can start finding our own niche areas, both within specialties, cope of practice, and treatment strengths, we can all work together to make healthcare better and more efficient.

I loved having the ATCs nearby, who are extremely skilled at quickly assessing if an athlete is good to continue play or needs to be further evaluated.  I am also extremely jealous of their taping abilities, and watching them just whip out a beautiful tape job in a couple of minutes is both enticing and infuriating to watch!  Working with other sports chiropractors is always fun, we get to discuss different techniques, ortho and neuro examinations, and the chiropractic profession overall.  I know one question I get a lot is "why have chiropractors there if we already have trainers?"  A simple answer is scope and abilities, where trainers are great at quick assessments, chiros can go a little deeper on the injuries that aren't necessarily game ending, but are still bothersome and we can possibly apply a quick treatment to try and get the athlete functional and return to play.  And of course having an MD nearby is reassuring that if anything is outside of our scope or in an extreme emergency, we are covered quickly.

Working with this team was an incredible experience, and I know I learned a lot from everyone over this past weekend.  If you have any questions about how to get your team to include more of an integrated approach, feel free to shoot me an email and we can discuss who and how to help your team create the best care.