The World Games 2022 – Sports Chiropractic Inclusivity

World Games 2022: A ‘Spectacular’ Event for Chiropractic Inclusivity

Doctors of chiropractic from eight countries represented the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS) from July 7-17 at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala.
Throughout the event, FICS chiropractors treated more than 3,400 athletes participating in 30+ unique sports. Of the 48 chiropractors in attendance, 28 were American Chiropractic Association (ACA) members. Pictured Below: FICS chiropractors treat athletes at the canoe polo venue at the 2022 World Games.  For some members, like Dr Keith Overland, DC, CCSP, FICS Secretary General. who has worked many elite athletic events over his career, the experience in Birmingham was a revelation in how far chiropractic has come in the sports world and the growing appreciation for what it provides. He said at the Games in July 2022, participating chiropractors worked in fully equipped, air-conditioned tents at all 15 venues of the competition. They were granted special credentials by the Alabama Legislature and given lodging and uniforms like the rest of the medical team. “The Sports Chiroportaqic care was a vital component of health care. It was one of the most spectacular events for the inclusivity of chiropractic care,” recalled Dr Overland.

The warm welcome results from years of relationship building between FICS and the International World Games Association (IWGA). FICS began its partnership with IWGA in 2003 and has since developed a contract to supply sports chiropractors for the World Games, held every four years in locations across the globe. “Through our work at the World Games, we now have seven different sports federations that we have contracts with,” said Brian Nook, DC, DACBSP, ICSC, FICC, who serves as the FICS representative to the International Sports Federation Commission.

“The strategy is to prove how sports chiropractic can assist in the world of sport.”

Chiropractors treat credentialed individuals associated with the games during the event, including athletes and officials. “We work only in the warm-up areas,” Dr. Brian Nook, FICS World Games Chef de Mission, explained. “Our primary focus is getting the athlete ready to perform at their best and their optimum, and also recovery after their competition and getting them ready for their next competition.”

Pictured below, front to back: Drs. Jose Balseca, Keith Schaller, and Wendy Mehaffey work with artistic skate athletes from Italy, China, and Germany.

Another FICS goal is to earn chiropractic care regular representation at the Olympic Games. While chiropractors support athletes at the Olympics, their participation depends on the host country and individual participating countries, teams and athletes, 
At the World Games, DCs are as much a part of the healthcare structure as MDs and PTs. “We are trying to educate the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on what we provide and our benefit, but also to make sure that there’s an equitable and level playing field for all athletes,” Dr. Nook said. “Putting chiropractic into the Olympics, that’s been a long 30-year project that we’ve been working on, but we have to prove ourselves. We need to demonstrate what we’re doing, and the World Games and working with the international federations allows us to do that.”  “The pinnacle of FICS is that every athlete deserves access to sports chiropractic, and this is a way in which we can hopefully help to make that happen,” he added.

Working with FICS at the World Games or another world championship event is a unique opportunity for chiropractors. “To work at an international event, on world champions, in a sport that may not be in the Olympics, is as close as you can get to the Olympics,” Dr. Nook explained. “The World Games — which a lot of people don’t really understand — features the top athletes in the world in sports that just don’t happen to be in the Olympics. It is a chance to work with sports that they may never be exposed to. Most people have never worked on fin swimmers or sumo wrestlers.”  DCs also have the chance to collaborate with colleagues from around the world and learn from each other. “The friendships and enjoyment that [chiropractors] get out of that is just as strong as the feedback and the fulfillment of treating athletes and accredited individuals during the games,” Dr. Nook said.

Pictured below: Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, Giampiero Masi, President of Beach Handball Federation with FICS Sports Chiropractors Jon Wilhelm, Lizandi Schoeman, Renee Bowen, and Todd Riddle! 

There were eight nations represented in the FICS delegation this year, with chiropractors traveling to Birmingham from Australia, South Africa, Denmark, Germany, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and the USA. The group consisted of 48 doctors of chiropractic, four student researchers, an administrator and a research coordinator.Dr Nook said that FICS selects each team carefully to balance backgrounds and experience. “We have to have international representation, we have to have inclusion and equity, and we also balance experience,” he continued. The FICS delegation at the 2022 World Games included 48 chiropractors from eight countries. FICS take a balance of doctors who have been to The World Games, doctors who have attended FICS international events, and doctors who have completed their ICSC (International Certificate in Sports Chiropractic) but may not have had the chance to attend an international event. FICS focus on building the delegation of veterans, experienced but non-veterans, and newbies. We cluster the newbies with veterans to give them the experience and guidance they need to work together for the care of the athletes and officials. It’s a unique opportunity for people to get involved.”Chiropractors who are interested in participating in an international event with FICS must complete an International Certificate in Sports Chiropractic (ISCS).
More information about FICS and the ISCS is available on the FICS website.

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