Local chiropractor lends helping hand to Olympians
Dr. Jason Gerard works with U.S. athletes in London
Most of us use vacation to get away from work, but Dr. Jason Gerard’s vacations include plenty of work. Based on the itinerary of his latest trip, it’s hard to blame him.
The Forest Lake-based chiropractor spent 10 days in London keeping American athletes in top shape during the recent Olympics.
“I had the chance to not only help them perform at a high level but really help them come home with the most medals they have in years,” Gerard said upon returning to Lakewoods Chiropractic.
The “workcation” was not the first for the St. Paul native. Gerard has also been to Cuba and Berlin, Germany with the United States wrestling team.
It’s all part of Maximized Living, a network of chiropractors whose practices endorse a specific set of health principles. That network also partners with the governing bodies for the national wrestling, weightlifting and judo programs.
It was about a year ago when Gerard learned he would be among the team of chiropractors jumping the pond to London. He accepted the offer with enthusiasm, though he knew the trip would involve more work than play.
“High-level athletes are very structural,” he said. “They follow a very specific schedule. Once you become part of that schedule, it’s a requirement.”
Sports fans may not realize all that goes in to gold-medal-worthy performances, Gerard said. There is a team of helpers behind nearly every great athlete, and chiropractic care is usually part of that equation. Even superstar Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt recently touted the benefits.
“Chiropractic in the international community is pretty respected,” Gerard said. “It also gives an athlete an edge that maybe another athlete doesn’t have.”
In working mainly with the wrestlers, Gerard’s expertise was needed not only for preventative care but for treating injuries.
The United States men came home with three freestyle medals.
Gerard, a Hugo resident, did find time to simply be a sports fan. He was in the crowd for track and field events, beach volleyball matches and the triathlon which took place near Buckingham Palace.
“Already in sight is Rio de Janiero [for the Olympics] in 2016. That’s on the radar,” Gerard said. “Rio would be a pretty cool place to be in 2016.”
Home and Away
Despite his adventures, Gerard spends most of his time at his office in Schilling Plaza, near Forest Lake High School.
He found his calling in chiropractic care after his college hockey career was affected by exercise-induced asthma.
“I was told the rest of my life I would have to be on an asthma inhaler,” he said. “Within just a few adjustments I took my asthma inhaler and threw it in the garbage…so I decided I might want to pursue that field.”
Upon obtaining his doctorate from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, he came the area nearly 14 years ago. He got his practice off the ground with door-to-door appointments. His clinic now has a staff of seven, including another doctor and a massage therapist.
Treating Olympians is a thrill, but Gerard appreciates coming back to his local patients.
“Elite athletes are some of the hardest people to work with,” he said. “Everyday, salt-of-the-earth people are by far easier to work with.”
Gerard may be feeling the need for another vacation soon, though. In October he will begin a tenure as the first elected president of ChiroMission, an organization that provides chiropractic care to those in need throughout the world.
Through ChiroMission, Gerard volunteers his time and talent several times per year.
“We’ve seen the harshest of harshness and yet the most amazing greatness,” he said of his experiences. “Mission work, I consider it a balance in my life. I love serving here, and it’s great in America, but I believe in the balance.”