EDMOND — Members of the U.S. women's sitting volleyball team stopped at an Edmond chiropractic office for a final adjustment before leaving Friday for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Eleven athletes who train at the University of Central Oklahoma are in Amsterdam this week getting used to the time zone and practicing for the Paralympic Games.
Opening ceremonies are Aug. 29.
Dr. Ryan Hanson works with paralympic athletes to help make them healthier and play better volleyball by keeping their spines in line.
Hanson is one of 170 chiropractors in the United States who uses the Maximized Living concept that includes chiropractic care, nutrition, exercise and mental conditioning programs to help athletes and others.
Hanson uses a hand-held instrument with high-velocity, short-stroke thrusts to straighten the spine, which he said eases the players' nervous systems so they become healthier and perform better.
“This is not only for the sport now, but for their overall health for a lifetime,” Hanson said. “It will increase their performance and give them an edge that other people don't have.”
U.S. sitting volleyball team member Kari Miller, 35, said she was apprehensive when her coach first wanted her to go to a chiropractor.
“I thought of voodoo,” said Miller, who in the late 1990s lost both her legs while a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunken driver.
She tried it and now gets adjustments almost daily.
“I can really tell a difference,” said Miller, a military veteran from Washington. “The bottom of my back is uneven, and it is better. My reflexes are quicker.”
Miller and seven other members of this year's U.S. sitting volleyball team won a silver medal in the 2008 games in Beijing. Miller, Heather Erickson, 19, from Fayetteville, N.C., and Michelle Schiffler, 29, from Germany, are counting on bringing home a gold medal.
Schiffler and two other team members are competing for the first time in the Paralympic Games. Her husband, Alexander, is on the German men's sitting volleyball team.
Schiffler was born with a deformed right arm. She wears her prosthetic arm while playing volleyball and basketball. The rest of the time, she said, she prefers not to wear it because it is hot and she feels more normal without it.
Erickson lost her leg after a broken bone in her leg would not fuse back.
Miller and Erickson will not wear their prosthetic legs in the games.
The USA sitting volleyball team, coached by Bill Hamiter, could play up to five games. The first game is at 10 a.m. Aug. 31 against China, the team that won the gold in 2008.
Hanson, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, traveled with the volleyball team to China but this time will watch from afar.
“They are a great group of girls,” Hanson said. “They have prepared every day and worked hard.”