Sports Medicine Club Champions Athletes

Touro’s Sports Medicine Club boosts athlete recovery and relief with hands-on osteopathic techniques.

January 11, 2024
Student doctors demonstrate OMM treatments to an athlete on a treatment table at a running event

If you participated in a competitive race in the last year, you may have spotted a tent called the Sports Medicine Recovery Booth. The tent is lined with a row of treatment tables staffed by Touro University California (TUC) student doctors and members of the Sports Medicine Club.

“At the marathons, half marathons, 5K’s, or whatever we’re covering, the students help athletes before the race with warming up techniques that help increase range of motion, as well as stretching of muscles, a more active process than the static stretching that you see runners do,” says Rich Aptaker, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, and preceptor for the Sports Medicine Club and also served as chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) for Kaiser. “After the race we’ll have seven or eight people in line waiting while we’re treating other runners. People come after the race with a variety of aches and pains that the students can often help them with.”

The Sports Medicine Recovery Booth idea was started in 2022 by Jennifer Addleman, a third-year medical student at TUC who is pursuing PM&R and Sports Medicine. The idea was to create opportunities to help athletes, but also students by providing a real-world opportunity to practice Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM).

“We’re seeing someone who’s in real pain,” says Addleman, who is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and recently won the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation’s Women’s Scholarship for 2023. “In our first couple of years of medical school, we often don’t get to practice on people who have acute injuries. In the booth situation, we’re seeing someone who’s in real pain and we get to see the immediate effects of OMM. We also get to teach the community about Touro and about OMM, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

The Sport Medicine Club reflects the efforts of past leaders like Addleman who laid the foundation for event participation, and current leaders like second-year student doctor Loriann Hom who continues to expand the club’s scope. Hom has helped incorporate club activities to include observing physicians treating more serious injuries at medical tents, as well as expanding the booth involvement to other sporting events, like cycling.

“It helps us grow as student doctors, working with people and being able to explain the techniques,” says Hom. “When we talk to our classmates, they know exactly what we’re saying. At these events, the athlete doesn’t have the same level of understanding, so having to fully explain what is happening to them has been super important.”

Through their initiatives, the club continues to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world practice, shaping well-rounded and compassionate future healthcare professionals in sports medicine and beyond.