Berkeley, California (May 8, 2015) – More than a dozen chiropractors representing the American Chiropractic Association Sports Council (ACASC) recently attended to the medical needs of nearly 600 athletes participating in the 40th National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships held from April 4 – 5 at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del. Hosted by the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA), this highly-prestigious event serves as a qualifier for the 2015 USA Taekwondo National Championships and the 2015 U.S. National Collegiate Taekwondo Team, which will represent the nation at the Summer World University Games (SWUG) in Gwangju, Korea this summer.
“These are superb athletes fighting with great intensity in an attempt to rise to the next level of national and then international competition,” says NCTA Medical Director Dr. Sherri LaShomb, who is also the former president of the American Chiropractic Association Sports Council (ACASC). “The potential for serious injury is always there. Head trauma, concussions, fractures, contusions and sprains are common. Our doctors oversaw the care of these participants while in the midst of competition. This involved treating injuries as well as determining the ability to physically continue matches once the referees asked for an expert medical opinion. This is an incredibly important medical evaluation, especially for an athlete hoping one day to participate on the world stage.
“That’s why the NCTA asked us to participate. Everyone on our team has extensive sports medicine experience having worked everything from the Olympics and Olympic trials to national and international championships in a variety of sports. Plus, we are trained to quickly and accurately evaluate the athlete and then provide care that ranges from chiropractic adjustments to the treatment of soft tissue injuries and first aid care.”
During the two-day event, many of the chiropractors stationed as mat doctors providing medical attention to the more than 500 participants competing on eight separate mats throughout the Championships. Under tournament rules, referees are required to stop the match and request the medical opinion of the attending mat doctor after an injury occurs. It is then the responsibility of the professional to evaluate, stabilize and determine the extent of the injury within the one-minute break.
“It’s a fast-paced environment that requires expert skills,” adds Shapiro of Old Bridge, New Jersey. “Within 60 seconds, you have to identify the severity of the problem and then decide if the contestant can continue. There is a lot at stake. Not only the immediate welfare of the athlete, but also their status on the day, which can directly affect their ranking going forward. Every decision is made based solely on the participant’s best interests. Experience is so important because the wrong call can cost the individual in so many different ways.”
Dr. Shapiro along with his chiropractic colleagues based throughout the Northeast were invited to join the official medical staff of the National Championships by Dr. LaShomb based on their long-standing sports chiropractic backgrounds . These included Dr. Len Ershow of Princeton, New Jersey; Dr. William Bonsall of Westfield, New Jersey; Dr. Marc P. Jaffe of Summit, New Jersey; Dr. Robin Linster of Doylestown, Pa.; Dr. Cheryl Lee-Pow of Rockville, Md.: Dr. Joshua Cole of Gainesville, Va.; Dr. R. Eric Brennan of King of Prussia, Pa.; Dr. Kirsten Grove of Tysons, Va.; Dr. Charlotte Fletcher of Wilmington, Del.; Dr. Jenn Davis of Calverton, Md.; and Dr. Casha Smith of Silver Spring, Md. Others also serving on the medical staff at this year’s 40th National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships were Nurse Practitioner Nina Anderson of Wilmington, Dela.; Athletic Trainer Chelise Strickland of Newark, Dela.; and Paramedic Linda Buell of New York, Ny.
“Attending high-level athletic events as a medical provider always accompanies a sense of accomplishment,” explains Dr. Jaffe. “Helping to ensure that the athletes participate in a safe environment, not only enhances the chances for their success, but also leaves me feeling better skilled than when I started. Working alongside so many talented and experienced doctors is always a worthwhile win-win situation.”
“These are extremely determined athletes performing at the highest intensity,” concludes Dr. Lee-Pow. “The pace is lightning fast with action that is both incredibly acrobatic and brutal. Sometimes, we were asked to attend to the needs of four mats simultaneously. You constantly had to be on your toes. But, it’s immensely rewarding to play even a small role in the development of these young athletes, many of whom will soon be on the world stage.”
In addition to organizing the medical staff for this past competition, Dr. LaShomb is also charged with compiling the medical personnel needed to support upcoming NCTA national events including the National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships . All ACASC members interested in being named to future NCTA medical staffs should contact Dr. LaShomb at [email protected].
About the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA)
The National Collegiate Taekwondo Association was formed in 1970 by collegiate martial arts instructors working to promote Taekwondo in colleges and universities and to create a better understanding of the culture and philosophy of Taekwondo. Its mission is to continually promote, foster and broaden activities in colleges and universities through quality instruction and coaching. For more information please visit www.ncta-usa.com.