In September 2008, Texas Chiropractic College began a new program with the Rice University Department of Athletics. This program brings TCC students to the Rice campus twice a week, providing them with hands-on experience in the care of NCAA Division I athletes and the opportunity to interact with the Owls’ athletic trainers in aiding with injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The program is headed by TCC faculty member and Moody Health Center attending clinician Dr. Tim Lee. TCC students in the MHC apply to him for the opportunity to participate in the program, which lasts one month for each student. Those interested in participating in the rotation must: 1) be in good clinic standing; 2) demonstrate functional assessment of spine and extremities; 3) have taken an advanced soft tissue class; and 4) be able to commit to the program for a full month.
Dr. Lee began the program taking two interns with him each Tuesday and Thursday. The chiropractic care was so well received by the athletes, coaches and trainers at Rice that by the spring, he was taking four interns on each visit.
The program has provided tremendous learning and teaching experiences for those involved. “The learning moments are happening all the time as we get these different musculoskeletal problems in there,” noted Dr. Lee. “The functional assessments that I talk about in class, now we get to put those to practice and the students see bad movement patterns where they didn’t see them before and the correction for them and the assessment afterwards. Teaching the interns to follow up their work, to make sure we are having an effect. That has just been fabulous.”
Also appreciating the benefits of the care the athletes are receiving are their coaches, among them is Jim Bevan, the highly decorated head coach of the women’s cross country/track and field program. Bevan has coached the Owls for 23 years and has served as the head coach for the past four. Since taking the helm, Bevan’s teams have won seven Conference USA team titles.
“I’ve been at Rice for 23 years and this has been the best year for our kids to be able to get treatment, stay healthy, being tweaked here and there to keep us healthy,” Bevan enthusiastically shared following the team’s victory at the 2009 C-USA indoor championships. “Our kids look forward to when the chiropractors come. There is no question about it, setting up that program has been a big, big, big plus. There’s been a decrease in the little injuries and an increase in just feeling good. The kids are more aware of their bodies, and they can tell a difference. It’s been a huge plus. We’re close to 100 percent healthy and when you train hard that’s pretty amazing. And that’s a large part of it I think.”
The dual purpose of the program has been to provide real-world experience for TCC students while aiding Rice in the care of its student-athletes. The program has proven a huge success on both fronts.