Runners who completed the IMT Des Moines Marathon and Half-Marathon rounded the finish line and — after receiving their medal and a slice of pizza — were in for a real treat: the DMU athlete recovery zone.
Dozens of Des Moines University volunteers offered osteopathic finish line treatments, post-race physical therapy, and foot & ankle first aid in a coordinated effort to support the race.
Our volunteerism also earned DMU the sponsor privilege to participate in the pre-race expo, where we saw familiar faces of alumni, such as Mike Harder, D.O.-’05 and Sonja Baer, P.A.-’07.
Race-day morning dawned foggy as we unloaded more than 40 tables from the DMU Mobile Clinic and got ready to welcome athletes and introduce them to the skills of our students, who were excited to interact with real patients.
“One runner came to me complaining of pain that she described as ‘shin splints,'” said Jennifer Hill, D.P.T.-18. “I was able to use my palpation and knowledge of anatomy to identify and treat tender points in her leg that significantly decreased her pain. She was so thankful – and I think a little surprised – that I was able to make a difference in just two minutes. I loved seeing the relief on her face!”
In addition to providing hands-on practice for our students, they truly spread awareness about their professions.
“One of the patients that I treated was astonished that my treatment completely alleviated her lower back pain from the race,” said Mark Wise, D.O.-19. “I took the opportunity to educate her more about OMM and how it can help with so much more than lower back pain. I really feel like I was able to make a difference in her life while simultaneously spreading osteopathic awareness.”
First-years watched on and received guidance from upper-class students as they helped relieve runners of pain under the supervision of our fantastic faculty.
“I became much more comfortable doing a number of treatments we learned just this year,” said Jordan Baker, D.O.-19. “Also, I started to realize how few treatments I know for the foot and ankle. Talking to the fellows and Dr. Adrian Woolley helped me start thinking about new techniques.”
Faculty clinicians and OMM Fellows were key in making the event a success, and it was exciting to see CHS and COM students practicing alongside each other.
“As I went through the day and watched fellow students, I picked up a few different techniques that I incorporated as I went, ” Hill said. “Dr. Laura Covill also came through and provided some helpful feedback as I was working with a patient. Dr. Shane McClinton was extremely helpful when I had a patient with some foot issues since he specializes in foot pain. It was a great collaborative environment.”
Not far away was a tent specializing in foot and ankle first aid, staffed by volunteers from CPMS. Blisters didn’t stand a chance against Dr. John Bennett, Dr. Katherine Frush and students like Jim Renier, D.P.M.-18, who looks forward to the event each year.
Additional volunteers helped support the paramedics at various first aid stations along the course, with more than 130 volunteers contributing to make a wonderful showing of DMU support, and treating hundreds of runners. One grateful marathoner event sent a thank-you note to let our team know how much we’d helped him recover from calf pain after the race.
See more race-day photos on our Des Moines University Facebook page.