Elite athletes are experienced, dedicated and above all, goal oriented. The same can be said for Dr. Jeremy B. Crow, PT, Director of Clinical Education for SPEAR Physical Therapy. It is these defining characteristics that have him living his dream, volunteering at the training facility in Colorado Springs.
Not content to be an athletic trainer for the football players at Division One Florida State University, or an intern for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jeremy had his eye on the ultimate prize: to treat the top athletes in the world. He submitted a detailed application outlining his sports therapy credentials, and was selected from a national pool of PT hopefuls for two intense weeks at the USOC (United States Olympic Complex) training facility, where he arrived on Aug. 30. What made him shine among the many applicants? His breadth of experience working with seriously impressive athletes.
“I’ve had so much experience at all different levels of on-the-field coverage,” explains Crow. “If you work with professional athletes, then you know how to speak to them, how to handle them, how not be intimidated by them. I’ve had that experience, so I fit right in.”
“If you work with professional athletes, then you know how to speak to them, how to handle them, how not be intimidated by them.”
After only a few days into his assignment at the Colorado Springs Training Center, the gig had already surpassed his wildest dreams.
“I’ve learned so much,” Crow explains. “There are massage therapists, there are chiropractors, there are athlete trainers—there’s a whole interdisciplinary team, and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from all of them. In terms of my growth as a professional, it has been huge.”
At the Olympic Training Facility, Crow is one of three physical therapists (two on-staff and him the lone volunteer) servicing some 100 athletes. His time is split between the training room—doing injury and post-surgery rehab—and the field, where he takes care of anything that comes up for the athletes. One day, for example, he was with the Men’s Greco-Roman Wrestling team. “When I was there, somebody cut his chin, so we cleaned it up. Someone else needed his ankle taped. Another athlete had cramps so we stretched him. When we’re at practice with them, we’re there whenever someone needs anything.”
When he’s not hard at work, life at the training camp is quiet. He’s living communally with the athletes, sharing their dorms (his first roommate was an Orthopaedic surgeon from New Hampshire; his second, a doctor from North Carolina) bathrooms, and cafeteria. “The teams that live here—they eat, train and live together. They would be college kids, but this is their college.”
“The teams that live here—they eat, train and live together. They would be college kids, but this is their college.”
He has been impressed across the board with the character of the athletes he has worked with. These are the best athletes in the world, but there are no divas among them. Instead, Crow has found them to be approachable, humble and extremely appreciative of the job the therapists do.
Next Stop: Brazil
As amazing as this experience has been, Crow is looking ahead to the natural next step: being selected for the Summer Games in Brazil.
To make it there, Crow must be armed with a clinical skillset. For new techniques to enhance his offerings, Crow is inspired by Heather Linden, DPT, one of the USOC staff therapists. “From a bag of tricks, so to speak, Heather does everything I want to do, including different manual techniques that I want to add to my tool box.”
“You hear it all day,” Crow adds. “The athletes come in and say, ‘What are your manual skills? What do you do?’ Fortunately I have a lot of manual skills. But the athletes are very picky, they know their bodies and they know what they want. They say, ‘I want this’ or ‘I want that’.”
For the most part, Crow has what they want, and has received numerous compliments from the athletes in whom he has instilled great confidence in just a few short days.
As for Crow’s fellow SPEAR therapists, they are extremely proud of Crow being chosen for the volunteer PT assignment in Rio, as well as the work he does back home in Manhattan.
SPEAR co-founder and President Dan Rootenberg says, “We feel very fortunate to have Jeremy. He’s one of the country’s most decorated physical therapists, and plays an important role at SPEAR as he unifies our clinical approach. He ensures that SPEAR utilizes the most innovative, cutting-edge and research-based approaches towards patient healing and performance.”
Rootenberg continues. “This collaborative and unique approach was clearly recognized as Jeremy was selected to work with the most elite athletes in world at the US Olympic Training Facility. We are very proud of all that Jeremy has accomplished and feel that the value-add to our patients going forward will be tremendous. Who doesn’t want to be treated like the world’s greatest athletes when they get injured and want the best way to bounce back to health?”
“Who doesn’t want to be treated like the world’s greatest athletes when they get injured and want the best way to bounce back to health?”
As for Crow, stay tuned to see if Brasil becomes a reality. One thing we know for sure: if he makes it there, his professionalism and commitment will make him an indispensable asset for those with dreams of achieving Gold.
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