Currently known as one of the best vaulters in the world, McKayla Maroney achieved an athlete’s dream of earning gold as part of the US Women’s Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Her arduous journey to olympic achievement, however, was marked by challenges, many of them common and familiar among professional and competitive athletes. Below is an excerpt from an article printed in The Washington Times, highlighting how chiropractic was pivotal in Maroney’s journey to gold.
McKayla Maroney, the 2011 World Vault Champion, was injured in St. Louis, Missouri on June 8, 2012, during a pre-meet warm up during her floor routine. She did three flips in the air, landed on her back, and hit her head so hard that her nasal bone fractured and she was left with a severe concussion.
Because this injury was of this magnitude she had to meet with the Olympic medical board to assess her ability to compete at the national team Olympic trials.
Her primary treating chiropractor, Dr. Chris Tunner, was aware that she was still suffering from residual post-concussion symptoms and wanted to offer young McKayla her lifetime dream to compete in the Olympics, so after discussing the options with her mother they referred her to Dr. Shad Groves, a chiropractic neurologist, in Long Beach, California.
She came into Dr. Groves’ office with her mother on Monday, the day before her medical eligibility examination. Dr. Groves was able to assess McKayla using functional neurology examination procedures and found equilibrium imbalances, eye tracking imbalances and nystagmus, and muscle weakness in her arm. After he gathered this information he performed specific neurological procedures using arm movements, eye re-patterning exercises, video-based opto kinetics, and head movements as treatment and therapy.
The next day, Tuesday June 19, 2012, McKayla was evaluated by the Olympic medical board to assess her post-concussive state and determine if she would attend the Olympic trials in San Jose, California. During this evaluation McKayla not only showed normal improvements in her strength, but she did not show any eye tracking problems and had completely restored the balance in her vestibular system.
But even better, she was given specific exercises based upon her neurological evaluation to perform as on-going therapy provided by Dr. Groves. She is now one of five on the U.S. Olympic team representing the United States in London. The popularity of chiropractic has grown around the world. Every athlete is looking for an edge and they are finding that chiropractic offers a hands-on, drug-free advantage. Athletes are finely tuned humans and when one seemingly insignificant part of their physiology is not performing correctly they lose function; adding time or shortening distances to their event.