Reflections on My Career as a Sports Chiropractor

By: Timothy Ray, DC, director of sports medicine

dr ray wsg
Dr. Ray at the 5th CSIT World Sport Games

With more than 40 years of experience as a sports chiropractor my initial thoughts and fears of succeeding in practice are a distant but very clear memory. It is also one you, as a practitioner, will revisit regularly as you navigate your practice. As the director of the sports medicine program at UWS, I feel it is my responsibility to assist my students, where I can, in terms of helping them understand what it is like to be a sports chiropractor today.

I recently returned from Riga, Latvia where I was the chief of sport chiropractic services at the 5th CSIT World Sport Games. This is an International Olympic Committee sanctioned event involving 36 countries, with 3,000 athletes competing in 45 different sports at 22 sites throughout the city of Riga. The sports chiropractic team consisted of 18 doctors from eight different countries who are members of the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS). As the acting chair of the International Games Commission of FICS, I control selection, credentialing and logistics of all international FICS sanctioned venues and games. This allows me a global perspective of what to look for in a sports chiropractor, choosing those who will represent our profession and specialty to the world.

It is a dream of mine to allow my students to hit the ground running as sports chiropractors after graduation and licensure. To accomplish this I’d like to share the knowledge and experience I feel you need to focus on now to accomplish this goal.

What do we look for when choosing doctors from around the world to work an event of this stature? A very important aspect is commitment; the unrelenting commitment to your goal. This is what you are learning here by working tirelessly through your coursework. It is this ownership of this responsibility that you must hone to carry you beyond school You may perceive the course load here as being arduous, heavy and unremitting now, but it will also create the undying initiative and ability to succeed you will require in practice.

From an educational prospective, there is no better practicum or internship than games like these. There is no better place to hone your skills where you will see sports injuries common to 45 different sports presented to you in the same place and in the same day. This is not a recreational vacation. Our teams worked from morning into the night, sometimes missing meals to care for athletes they will never see again and not making any income from their services. Where else can a sports chiropractor learn techniques and treatment methods from colleagues of various countries? I can tell you there is no place else where you will make life-long friendships than experiences like this.

When you are scratching your head wondering why you are in the sports medicine program, wondering how, when, if you will ever get through, consider there is a world of fascinating, wonderful experiences waiting for you when you are finished here. Stay committed to your goals! Take ownership of these responsibilities to be the best you can be. Let’s talk more in the future about how I can help you get there.

Dr. Tim Ray is the director of the sports medicine program at UWS. If you are interested in learning more about the program, feel free to contact Dr. Ray at tray@uws.edu or reach out to our admissions staff at admissions@uws.edu.