Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine's Sports OMT Elective
Interviewee: Chris Mattson (left), OMS II, a former collegiate baseball player from Hope College in Holland, MI.
What OMM project are you involved in at your school?
-- I am one of the Clinical Coordinators for the Sports OMT elective, formerly known as the Injury Prevention in Distance Runners Study (IPDRS). 10 years ago this was a research project that set out to determine if lower extremity OMT could decrease the prevalence of stress fractures in collegiate cross country athletes (it did!). After years of data collection and publication, the project turned into an elective for medical students.
What makes this project so unique?
-- This elective offers first and second year medical students the opportunity to diagnose and treat Division I athletes from the Men's and Women's Cross Country Teams at Michigan State University. Given the amount of milage that these athletes put in as part of their training (over 40 miles per week), their somatic dysfunctions and compensations provide a unique and valuable experience for osteopathic medical students.
What aspect of this project do you enjoy the most?
-- My favorite part of the Sports OMT elective would have to be the opportunity to work with such driven and health-conscious individuals. These athletes want to perform at their peak every day, and they see the elective as a tool to help them decrease pain and reduce risk of injury. For me, it is very rewarding to hear their testimonials of how Sports OMT has helped them in their sport; it makes every week exciting.
Can everyone at your school participate in this project?
-- This elective is open to 25 OMS I students each year (we have 300 students per class), and is a two-year commitment. As such, if you are not a part of the elective in your first year, you are unable to participate in your second.
How does this project help spread osteopathy in your community?
-- This elective is a way for athletes to become familiar with some of the unique tools that osteopathic medicine has to offer. The positive experiences and treatments that they've had may broaden the reasons that these athletes choose to visit an osteopathic physician in the future.
How has your involvement in this project impacted your future as a physician?
-- This experience has really piqued my interest in osteopathic manipulative medicine as it relates to athletics and preventative care. The elective has increased my confidence in diagnosing and treating somatic dysfunction. I believe that confidence will carry over into my practice and the skill set I have acquired will enable me to treat my patients efficiently in the future.
Has your involvement in this project assisted you in personal professional development?
-- This elective has enhanced my organization and communication skills, and it has helped me become more comfortable teaching students and working with athletes/patients. These will be valuable skill sets moving forward, both in medical education and in everyday life as a physician leader.