Bio: Dr. Tamara Lovelace is passionate about the profession of sports chiropractic. She successfully combines her chiropractic and sports medicine training along with her athletic experiences and biomechanical knowledge of the human body to aid her patients in reaching their full athletic potential.
Dr. Lovelace began her career in chiropractic shortly after graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Western States in 2001. Following her graduation, she was selected by the school for participation in an intensive three-year residency program in radiology and diagnostic imaging, and in 2011 she completed the diplomate program for the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. Dr. Lovelace has worked extensively with athletes of all genres, from the high school to the professional level. Since 2014, she has worked as one of the team doctors for the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Teams and the U.S. Cycling Team, caring for these athletes through multiple World Cup and Olympic medals. Dr. Lovelace provided care to the U.S. Olympic athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid, as these athletes prepared for their Olympic Games. Dr. Lovelace’s experience led her to be selected as one of the team doctors serving the U.S. Cycling Team members at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and as the chiropractic physician for the Beijing Olympic Village for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s medical delegation to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games. She has worked as the medical director and as part of the medical staff for the Dew Tour, a professional action sports tour, as well as for the UCI BMX Freestyle World Cups, UCI BMX Supercross World Cups, and the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cups. Dr. Lovelace has volunteered her expertise at sporting events, including the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Nationwide PGA Tour, the U.S. Fencing Championships, and the Nike Pre-National Cross Country meets. She has assisted several high school teams, working as a team physician for Aloha High School from 2004 to 2012, Tigard High School from 2009 to 2012, and most recently Prospect Mountain and Kingswood High Schools since 2012.
Dr. Lovelace has been awarded service awards for her dedication to the profession by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians as well as her local organizations, and in 2021, Dr. Lovelace was honored to be named the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physician’s Sports Chiropractor of the Year. Dr. Lovelace serves as the chairperson for the New Hampshire Board of Chiropractic Examiners and sits on the board of the New Hampshire Chiropractic Association. She also serves on several committees for both the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians and the American Chiropractic Association’s Sports Council, and she is the only chiropractic physician to serve, or have served, on the medical advisory committee for USA Cycling. Most of all, Dr. Lovelace enjoys supporting the local community and volunteering her time and expertise with athletes and community members of all ability levels.
Where does your passion for chiropractic care stem from?
From an early age I had always known I would grow up to be a health care provider. My grandmother tells stories of me bandaging the arms and legs of my stuffed animals and telling her that they had a broken leg or arm and that I was making them better. During my childhood years and into college I danced ballet at an elite level and then professionally and throughout this time I used the services of a chiropractic physician to allow me to continue to perform at my optimum level. As a result, I knew the value of chiropractic care in helping the body work to its greatest ability. When it came time to decide what I wanted to be when I “grew up” it seemed obvious that a career in chiropractic was the ideal path for me. I knew that by following this path I could help people not only live healthier and happier lives, but also help them perform whatever activities brought them joy to the best of their abilities. I knew that every day I would be helping to improve the quality of the lives of those that came to me. I couldn’t imagine a more rewarding career choice!
What initially drove you to choose to work with populations such as elite athletes?
I love to see the amazing feats that the human body can accomplish when it is functioning at its peak level of performance. Working with athletes allows me to help them reach their optimum function and performance levels and lets me be a part of their journey as they strive for excellence. I find it incredibly rewarding to watch an athlete that I have been working with set a new personal best, win their race or event, or even just get back to doing the sport that they love when they thought it might no longer be possible. Seeing the joy on their face as they accomplish their goal and knowing that I played a small part in helping them get there makes me feel that I am a part of something bigger than just myself and is one of the most rewarding feelings I can imagine.
What is your favorite memory from your time as a UWS student?
When I was a student at UWS we had a dragon boat team that participated in the annual Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races. While competing with this team I convinced a colleague from UWS to join us even though they were extremely hesitant to do so. This colleague had developed a health condition in the previous years that left them partially disabled and made them feel that they could not do many of the things in life that they had previously been able to do. After the Rose Festival Dragon Boat races, I introduced this colleague to a dragon boat team of similarly abled individuals who trained and competed year-round. He joined this team and trained and competed with them for years following this rookie year, and the change in my colleague’s demeanor and general attitude towards life was remarkable. Having the opportunity to witness this transformation further ingrained in me the belief that sport has the ability to change our lives immeasurably, giving us purpose and goals, whether it is simply recreational or on when it is on the Olympic stage. A life without purpose is a life that is difficult to endure, and sometimes when we lose parts of our life that we thought were irreplaceable it might feel like we can’t go on. Athletic involvement has the ability to give us back a purpose and a goal, sometimes in a modified form, and can have the power to bring us the fulfillment we once thought was lost.
What motivates your participation in professional organizations such as the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians?
I feel that it is very important to not simply join, but actively participate, in trade organizations such as the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (ACBSP), the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the American Chiropractic Association’s Sports Council (ACASC), as well as our state organizations. These are the organizations that fight to defend our right to do what we do on the state and national levels and without our membership dues and most importantly our ideas and manpower, they cannot accomplish this goal. In the 20 years since I graduated from UWS I have seen each of these organizations fight to protect our right diagnose and manage concussions, perform pre-participation sports physicals, and even stand on the sidelines of a local high school football game as the team doctor, among other aspects of scope of practice that so many of us take for granted, and all things that we have been educated to do in the course of our chiropractic studies. Without these organizations, we stand to lose these rights, and others, and there are always other professional trade organizations who feel that allowing us to operate within our current scope of practice somehow takes away from them and possibly threatens their livelihood, and therefore they will always work to limit our ability to do what we are so ideally suited to do. These organizations are not run by an endless stream of “other people” who will fight these fights for us. They are run by people just like us who have busy practices and families and really don’t have an abundance of free time, but they do it because someone has to. This is what motivates my participation in these organizations, and what motivates me to encourage everyone who will listen to do the same.
What is a piece of advice you’d offer to current UWS doctor of chiropractic students?
Always look for how you can learn more and do more. As a student you have an abundance of resources available to you, and often for significantly discounted costs. Take advantage of everything that you can. Always be looking for how you can enrich your knowledge and skill base as this will make you infinitely more valuable to the patients that you look to help as you move forward in your career. Getting into the habit of always trying to do better and learn more today than the day and week prior will set you up to be a provider who is always striving to be better today than they were yesterday… and isn’t that what every patient deserves? We should never stop learning; we can always be better than we were yesterday.
What about to those students interested in sports medicine?
For those students specifically interested in sports medicine, in addition to chiropractic students in general, I would recommend that you look for how you can help and serve others. The best sports chiropractors are always looking for how they can help others to be great. Sometimes helping means adjusting or treating an athlete or a team, and sometimes it means carrying gear and helping to keep the team treatment space clean and free from trash and leftover water bottles. Every little bit matters when an athlete is pushing themselves to their limit to reach their goal and it takes an entire team of people to help that athlete get there… and in the best support teams each member of that team is willing and eager to do everything and anything they can to help the entire team, and therefore the athlete, excel. There is no room for egos on an elite sports medicine team, and “that’s not my job” is a phrase that is never uttered. When you focus on serving others and always looking for how you can help, that’s when the best sports medicine teams and athletes will seek you out.
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
I exercise to relieve stress. Running in quiet settings, such as mountain trails, rail trails and along the river are my favorite, but any quiet street or park works for me too. When the New England seasons permit, rowing is my exercise of choice as the rhythmic cadence of the stroke on a quiet body of water can have a meditative quality that allows me to come off.