Canadian border guards almost spiked Team USA massages

No good deed goes unpunished. So it went for two volunteer chiropractors who helped American athletes at Kamloops last week. Turns out Dr. Greg  Summers, whose service I touted a few weeks ago, had a limited gig at worlds.  “Dr. Summers didn’t show up until Friday afternoon, so he was only there a day and a half,” one athlete wrote. But another chiropractor had a long stint — Dr. William D. Elliott of Alabama, who “set up on Monday morning and treated 27 athletes. On Tuesday, he treated 37. Wednesday was a slow day because he didn’t set up until after noon. He was there all day Thursday and Friday,” my mole tells me.  But getting to the meet was an ordeal.  “They were both stopped and questioned about work visas, and Dr.  Summers was held for three hours and forced to buy a work permit when he came through on Thursday night.  Dr. Elliott came across with (another entrant) on Sunday and they were subjected to questions for over 45 minutes.”

One athlete, Maryline Roux,  praised Dr. Summers, sending this unsolicited note:

Just wanted to send positive feedback about Dr.  Summers. Extremely devoted, he helped me many times during the championships. Very knowledgeable and very intuitive on what the body needs to be worked on.  His kindness had no limit.  The best doc. I had so far when competing. Kamloops was an amazing experience!

I also queried Dr. Elliott himself, and here are his replies: How many athletes did you treat?

Elliott: 80 separate athletes.

What were the most common problems treated?

Low back and neck shoulder, and calf, and quadracep-strain/pull.

Did you ask or accept payment for helping athletes?

No fee was requested.

Do you think some athletes won medals as a result of you patching them up?

You will have to ask the athletes for their assessment of my contribution.  I was honored to treat the M60 pole vault champion who set a world record,  the M55 pentathlon gold medalist, the silver medalist M55 shot, and M50 800m, W40 200m gold medalist, the 1500 M60 gold medalist.  There are others that I can not recall at the moment.  The USA team had a great measure of success.

What are your recommendations to USATF on how it could provide such physio services at future world masters meets?

I had some difficulties that could be corrested.  Before I make any recommendation, I would like to speak to you about the medical protocols involved in the meets so that any suggestion that I may project would be proper and more receptive.

I am appreciative of the opportunity to treat these athletes and I did feel there was appreciation for my effort.  Thank you for your interest in chiropractic and in me.

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March 11, 2010

16 Responses

  1. Bill Murray - March 11, 2010

    Ken, the athletes that received these treatments were all extremely positive about their individual results. Those who had never received chiropractic adjustments were supprised at the effectiveness of the treatments. I hope this is the beginning of supplemental care provided at international competitions by USATF for master’s athletes.

  2. G Dixon - March 11, 2010

    I was one of those Dr Elliot treated. The first time was in his hotel room, on Sunday, after a calf injury came roaring back to threaten my participation in the penta and discus. I also received treatment during the penta between my last height in the HJ and the 1000m. He was instrumental in getting me on, and keeping me on the track for the meet. I am not a penta world medal contender, yet, but he treated me as if I were. He presence was invaluable to all on our team. We need Dr Elliot and others to be officially attached to the team for the worlds in Sac and Finland.
    G Dixon
    Sarasota, FL
    M50 Penta 10th & Discus (bronze)

  3. Eric Negley - March 11, 2010

    Did not obtain massage or chiro treatments but wanted to comment on my border crossing experiences. On the way in to Canada, I was asked whether I was entering for business or pleasure, where I was headed, what hotel I was staying at, and how long I was going to stay. After the specific questions were asked and answered, I was asked what I was headed to Kamloops for and I replied that I was competing in the WMA Championships in the pole vault (which probably answered the unasked question of ‘what are those things on the top of your car that say ‘USC vaulting poles, Carson City, NV”). No inspection. On the way into US Sunday morning, US Customs asked their specific questions then ‘How did you do?’ to which I replied ‘I took Silver but Canada took Gold; it appears they are on a roll lately.’ The US Customs officer smiled and passed me through. No inspection. So, my experience was a non-issue. Just fyi. Eric Negley.

  4. not so pleasant experiance on the border - March 11, 2010

    WOW!!!! prvious comment had a wonderful experience. I was asked to get out of the car and come inside. We were questioned inside and out for about 30 minutes and they googled our name to see if we were telling the truth. I guess we all had different experiences.

  5. Mary Harada - March 11, 2010

    If the two doctors said they were coming to work – that probably sparked the difficulty as a work visa would be required. If USATF Masters provides such a service for an out of USA WMA meet again an effort needs to be made to make sure they have the correct visa and any required permissions needed to practice their specialty. They should not be hung up at customs for hours because no one thought about this in advance.
    I was treated by one of the doctors – sorry to say I did not know which one as there was no sign indicating who was providing the service. The treatment was very effective. I ran without any pain in my hips – for which I am very appreciative.
    If such a service occurs again – Sac WMA 2011 – a less public place for treatment would be nice. It would be more respectful of the service provided and of the athletes wanting treatment. It is not appropriate to ask these professionals to treat athletes in a hallway just behind the spectator seats.

  6. Bill Murray - March 11, 2010

    Mary, we were lucky to have the hall behind the USA section at all. FYI they originally had Dr. Elliott set up in the 2010 center which, as you know, was 300 meters away from the competition area and in another building. He was lucky to be able to set up inside the track at all.

  7. David E. Ortman (M56) Seattle, WA - March 11, 2010

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Elliott before the Kamloops meet here in Seattle and want to again thank him for taking time to keep athletes running, jumping, and throwing. Considering the attention that elite/Olympian athletes receive during meets just to compete in one event, I am sure that more masters athletes would have success if USATF/WMA were willing commit to a better organized on-site treatment center at major masters meets.

  8. Mary Harada - March 11, 2010

    Bill I understand the limitation of the facilities – I am just suggesting that at future WMA meets that if the USATF Masters are fortunate enough to have such a great service that requests be made for a better space if possible. In Lahti the services provided by specific countries were in the TIC in Linz – there were rooms in the indoor facility made available. Obtaining space probably is best done in advance (have not got a clue what was done this time) as is the issue of license requirements – if any – visa requirements etc. I appreciate having the services of both Dr. Summers and Dr. Elliott -but some athletes seemed to be aware of the service while others had no clue. This is not a criticism- it is simply a comment in hopes of having a better facility next time. And I agree the hallway was a much better spot than in the 2010 building.

  9. Sarah Lawson - March 11, 2010

    Dr. Summers was great. He adjusted me the day before my first 400 in a world meet, and it really helped my breathing, which kept me more relaxed and helped me win a medal. He was very professional and enthusiastic, and I would love to see him back at the next worlds. And he won’t need to cross a border!

  10. christel donley - March 11, 2010

    I came to the meet with very high hopes AND a
    nagging calf injury (started in Kenosha) After the hurdles, it seemed over, trying to continue with the pent. Dr. Elliott made it possible to go on for a bit more. He was also honest by saying: you need an orthopedist when you get home….

    After Dr. Summers arrival and listening to his problems at the border, I could only hope, he would be back, and that he promised.
    Equally great treatment and he could not even keep the “tip” I gave him.

    To both Doctors a BIG Thank You.

    Christel Donley

  11. Robert Baker - March 11, 2010

    Add me to the list of people treated by Dr. Elliott. The day after the Pentathlon I experienced a “catch” in my back that endured and was intense enough to give me doubts as to whether I could do the pole vault, hurdles and relay. The next day I saw Dr. Elliot and after a brief but thorough evaluation he determined what the problem was and made an adjustement. I experienced immediate relief. I was and am quite pleased and grateful. I didn’t want to spend lots of time and money to go to the meet only to be knocked out by a bad back.

    I think we would all benefit if such services were available at all the major national meets, starting this summer in Sacramento.

  12. Robert Thomas - March 11, 2010

    I see a chiropractor and massage therepists on a regular basis as part of my training. Both doctors were very helpful during there stay. I have already asked both would they be interested in coming to Sacramento this summer. We first have to find out what kind of services, if any, is the LOC in Sacramento planning for this summers Outdoor Nationals as well as next years worlds.

  13. Bill Murray - March 12, 2010

    There was a third chiropractor at the meet. He was Dr. Thomas Cawley M-50 800m silver medalist from New Jersey. He was there primarily as a competitor but was often adjusting athletes. Thank’s Dr. Cawley

  14. James Broun - March 13, 2010

    I was also treated by Dr. Elliot and it was amazing how he took the pain out of my (shoulder) rotator cuff prior to my pre-lims and finals. After the meet I went skiing at Sun Peaks and had a terrible fall so I really could have used him late saturday. I may have torn the rotator more because I have had serious pain since and can’t seem to “ice” and “heat” it away. Thanks Dr. Elliot, my medal is dedicated to you and I am seeing a local chiropractor this monday.

  15. Jovette Jolicoeur - March 14, 2010

    I saw Dr Elliot (love his accent) twice during Worlds. First to confirm that I had not tore anything in my throwing arm after Discus and a couple of days later, realigned my whole body and gone was the tenderness of my right hamstring. Ran the W50 4x200m for Canada the next day and no pain whatsoever. Thanks Dr Elliot, sure glad you were there and I hope to see you at US Nationals this summer.

  16. Ken Stone - March 16, 2010

    Great news: In his latest email to masters committee folks, Gary Snyder basically promises similar help at future WMA meets:

    “The addition of physiotherapy support was a real learning experience with the most difficult aspect getting the practitioners into Canada with out a hassle at the border. Both Drs Elliot and Summers were absolutely terrific. The athletes loved the support and we will include the support for all future WMA meets.”

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