DCs help Olympic athletes straighten up in Sochi

Stefan Dubowski
February 07, 2014
Written by Stefan Dubowski
What does it take to be an Olympic athlete? Training. Talent. And support from excellent medical staff — among them, chiropractors. Along with their skis and skates, Canada’s competitors in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics brought chiropractic expertise in the form of DCs who, like the athletes, represent the best of the best. Meet three chiropractors braving Russia’s cold weather to support Canada’s top contenders.
Dr. Clark Konczak
It isn’t difficult to see why the Canadian freestyle ski team asked Konczak to travel to Sochi. Practising out of Fix Health Care in Victoria, this graduate of Western States Chiropractic College has carved out his career the way some of his clients carve a hill: with incredible skill and utter gusto.

Konczak specializes in treating high-performance sports participants. He has worked with daredevils in numerous adrenaline-fueled competitions, including the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Championships and the Crankworx downhill and freestyle mountain biking race. Konczak also took part in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics as a member of the host medical team.

When he isn’t haunting some hillside sports venue, he’s helping his community and colleagues. Konczak works as the civilian chiropractor for Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt, lending his expertise as a governor of the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board and he teaches anatomy at West Coast College of Massage Therapy. He has published peer-reviewed medical papers, including most recently an examination of injuries and treatments for off-road cyclists. He’s also a reviewer for the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association.

But enough with the credentials. If you really want to know what Konczak is up to, visit his Facebook page to see his fascinating posts from Russia: facebook.com/clarkkonczak.

Dr. Richard Robinson
Robinson certainly knows his way around a rink. This Calgary chiropractor works with Canada’s hockey, curling, speed skating and figure skating teams.

He’s also no stranger to the Olympics, having supported Canadians competing in various sports in 2006 (Turin), 2008 (Beijing) and 2010 (Vancouver). You may spot him rinkside at Calgary’s Olympic Oval, the home base for Speed Skating Canada and the Canadian national speed skating team.

In less chilly sports, Robinson has helped professional surfers, pro beach volleyball players and AFL football gladiators.

How did he get so smart about treating athletes? Robinson graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic, but his education certainly didn’t end there. He also has his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo and he is a certified chiropractic sports physician under the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians’ exacting standards.

Robinson has business brains, too. He launched Calgary Sports Therapy and later sold the practice to LifeMark Health. Today, his business card reads “Clinic Director and Director of Chiropractic” at Calgary Sports Therapy – LifeMark Health.

Dr. Tony Gareau
Gareau has chiseled his career out of snow and ice—and these days, he’s in frigid Sochi to support the red-hot Canadian ski jumping team.

Based out of ProActive Health Group in Calgary, Gareau has travelled the world with Nordic Combined Canada, treating elite athletes as they race cross-country and chase gold medals down giant jumps.

Prior to his 14 years as a DC, Gareau gained fame as a defenseman for the Calgary Flames’ junior hockey team during its record-setting 21-straight-game winning streak in 1987 and ’88.

But this Western States Chiropractic College graduate has more than just brawn. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association has published his book reviews and he’s a member of the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences Canada.

To get a good idea of what it’s like to be a team chiropractor during one of the world’s biggest sports events, check out Gareau’s Facebook page, where he posts regularly and in amazing detail.

Dr. Alban Merepeza
He may practice out of Port Hope, Ont., but these days you’ll find Merepeza in Sochi helping Albania’s alpine skiers reach for personal bests and possible glory. In fact, this DC has travelled the world with Albania’s fledgling Olympic squad, which started competing in 2006.

Merepeza is no chiropractic rookie. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, he has spent years applying his expertise to help athletes in all sorts of sports: weightlifting, track and field, hockey, even auto racing. When he isn’t treating clients at Port Hope Chiropractic and Health Care, he’s volunteering his chiro know-how at the Kawartha Olympic Wrestling Club and the Northumberland Aquatic Club.

Like an Olympic gladiator who knows the contest never gets easier, he keeps adding to his credentials, piling a masters of rehabilitation sciences and a residency at the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences Canada atop his DC and psychology degrees.

Merepeza is something of an athlete himself: swimming, cycling, playing soccer and tennis. But he’s not just multitalented—he’s multilingual, fluent in Albanian, English, Italian and Spanish, as befits the international spirit of the Olympic games.

Editor's note: Know a chiropractor who is involved in the 2014 Winter Olympics, either as an athlete or part of the medical team? Tell us about it and we'll add it to the profiles listed here: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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