If you haven’t heard by now, SPEAR’s Director of Clinical Education, Jeremy Crow, is so good that the Olympic Committee chose him to prepare our Olympic athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and to travel to Rio to treat the WORLD’S Olympic athletes!
Our Own Jeremy Crow: Celebrity for a Month
It was such an amazing story that multiple industry publications published articles about Jeremy, making him a Physical Therapy Celebrity during the Olympics:
The New York Physical Therapy Association
A lifelong dream accomplished for Olympic Physical Therapist Jeremy Crow
Conclusion of Rio 2016 is just the beginning for Olympic volunteer Physical Therapist Jeremy Crow
PT In Motion (print publication)
A Golden Opportunity (screen shot below)
SPEAR Physical Therapy’s Director of Clinical Education featured in PT In Motion magazine for being chosen to treat Olympic Athletes
But what did these stories NOT tell you? What mainstream, non-clinical excitement and challenges did Jeremy face, and what was his behind-the-scenes take on the Olympic headlines?
We’ll tell you what you don’t know, and show you what you haven’t seen!
Jeremy appears to also have had a side job in Rio: Photographer. With nearly 200 photos of his Brazilian escapades and hundreds of social media posts, we’ve compiled our favorites into a Facebook photo album for you to enjoy. Check it out >
Jeremy’s Take on The Cupping Trend
You undoubtedly saw Michael Phelps debut his deep red circles at the Olympics. The treatment causing these circles is best known as “cupping.” Jeremy tells us that its official name is myofacial decompression (MFD), and that it’s a traditional Chinese therapy adapted to the field of sports medicine.
After spending a few week as a sports medicine volunteer at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs last year, Jeremy saw first-hand most of the resident Olympic athletes requesting cupping as part of their maintenance recovery programs. Some male gymnasts even had their own sets.
For the actual Olympic games in Rio, he also saw — first-hand and up-close — the procedure being performed on many athletes, including Michael Phelps himself.
Placing the “cups” (not the kind you drink from, of course) on the body increases blood flow to that area and draws toxins from the deeper tissue to aide in healing. The negative pressure from the cups will lift the fascia to allow for lymphatic drainage of toxins, as well as stretch this tissue. By restoring the normal tissue movement it can eliminate pain and any mechanical deficiencies caused by the restricted soft tissue.
The traditional way of using MFD was to mimic the meridian lines of the body. The cups are placed along these meridians to elicit changes within the body. There are a few different techniques that can be used: some more passive when the cups are moved along the area of restriction to a more aggressive way: after placing the cups on a certain restricted areas, the patient is asked to perform an active movement.
It can be used to treat myofacial strains to soft tissue restrictions unrelated to injury. Everyone from your high school athlete to your weekend warrior can benefit from it.
However, it’s important for patients considering cupping to understand the side effects. Those deep red circles could last over a week, and can cause immediate soreness.
In fact, since his return from the USOTC, Jeremy has been offering cupping to about 1/4 of his patients at SPEAR. Reach out to us if you’re interested in receiving cupping treatment.
The Gold Medal Up Close!
Jeremy had the chance to hold an actual Olympic Gold Medal, which weighs about a pound. Fast Fact: The “Gold” medal contains just around 6 grams of gold, and mostly consists of silver (92.5 percent pure silver). For the first time ever, the Gold Medal winners did not receive flowers with their medal. Instead they received a small sculpture of the logo — which not only lasts longer than flowers and can be saved more easily, but also has much less impact on the environment.
Celebrity & Athlete Interactions?
Jeremy met Hoda Kotbe, and got up close enough to capture great photos of: Brazilian soccer (futbol) great Neymar; gymnast and U.S. favorite Simone Biles; U.S. Men’s Volleyball star Micah Christenson.
It wasn’t all just work! Jeremy met many athletes and therapists from all over the world Stronger bonds with other Doctors he already knew from NYC and the USOC, and new friendships from a global world of therapists with unique experiences.
Seriously: No Translators for the Therapists!?
There were three official languages at the Rio games: French, English and of course Portuguese. But there were 8,000 translation volunteers focusing on the translation of 30 different core languages to the viewing public.
So surely Jeremy had a translator help him while providing precision treatment to the World’s Greatest Athletes, right?
Jeremy and the other therapists from around the world were on their own trying to understand dozens of languages. Jeremy treated a Egyptian who only spoke Arabic, a Chinese woman who only spoke mandarin, and a another athlete who only spoke dutch! And although Jeremy did brush up on his Portuguese by taking classes for a few months, he had no idea how to speak those three languages!
At one point, the language and cultural differences came together for the perfect storm of confusion …
Jeremy had to learn the hard way about different rules and cultural norms when it came to Olympic team guidelines and the treatment of athletes from different countries.
When an Egyptian volleyball player became seriously injured (with what later Jeremy found out was an actual ankle fracture!), Jeremy surprisingly never received the green light from the referee to assist the player on the court. Instead, the injured player’s teammates carried him off the court in a rudimentary and seemingly unsafe fashion (Jeremy described it as if they were “carrying a sack of potatoes.”) Jeremy assisted once the player was on the sideline, but the MD arrived and the official abruptly told Jeremy to leave.
They iced the player, and sat him there for the entire remaining portion of the match. Immediately after the match, Jeremy and a one of the orthopedic surgeons quickly wheeled the injured Egyptian athlete to the training room for an X-ray and MRI. Simultaneously, Jeremy could see an Egyptian representative verbally fighting, in Arabic, with the original physician. After the chaos calmed, Jeremy finally learned that some athletes were not allowed to be treated because they may be randomly drug tested — and certain treatments and/or medications could alter the results.
It all worked out in the end, but it was quite a spectacle that taught Jeremy grace under pressure!
Opening Ceremonies Up Close!
Open ceremonies was one of his most memorable moments. He was nervous to go alone since it was his first night in Rio. He had reservations because of safety concerns.
However, once he arrived at the Maracana Stadium the energy and excitement became contagious and it wiped away his worries. An ice-breaker with the girl next to him helped ease the tension also. They swapped pictures for each other to help remember the moment, and in no time the entire fan section was talking and celebrating together. Also, seeing the world famous Rio native Gisele Bundchen (Brady?) walk across the stadium to “Girl from Ipanema” was even more incredible in person than it was on television.
The theme of the Olympics — and therefore Opening Ceremonies — was to accept everyone for who they are, no matter what their ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, or sexual orientation. It was a 2 week period were everyone tried to compete at their best to win the ultimate goal: to be an Olympic Champion.