May 26, 2012 — After placing a career best 6th with partner Nicholas Buckland at the 2012 European Championships earlier this year, British ice dancer Penny Coomes flew to Nice, France in March uncertain of her ability to even compete at the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships.
Training under two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and four-time World Figure Skating Champion Evgeny Platov and choreographer Zhanna Palagina at the Igloo Ice Rink in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Penny suffered from such intense pain in her lower back and hips that the accompanying numbness affected her ability to walk and train, let alone skate, spin and spiral at a championship level.
With a relationship dating back to 2006, Platov turned to Dr. Anthony J. De Luca, director of De Luca Family Chiropractic in Old Bridge, N.J., to work with Coomes just days before leaving for France. In fact, over the years DeLuca not only served as Platov’s personal chiropractor, he helped administer to the chiropractic care of numerous other skaters training with Platov as well as the Great Britain and Republic of Georgia ice dancing teams competing in the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships held in Torino, Italy.
“Tony is one of the best at soft tissue injuries,” says Platov, who has spent the past 10 years tutoring world-class, international dancers such as Sinead and John Kerr, the two-time bronze medal winners at the 2009 and 2011 European Championships. “All my skaters work with Tony. He is an expert at not only treating the injury, but getting to know the individual and their biomechanics, which is imperative for working with athletes of this caliber.”
Shortly before her departure, DeLuca began a twice-daily regimen with Coomes that consisted of a combination of active release, stretching and relaxation techniques designed to relieve pain and increase her range of motion in the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Starting to feel the benefits, but still very uncertain of her participation in the World Championships, DeLuca was added to the official medical staff of the Great Britain team at Coomes and Platov’s urging so he could administer to her care throughout the event.
Once there, DeLuca worked with Coomes from morning till night, three to four times a day, to aid her flexibility and reduce the pain that made her participation in the World Championships a near impossibility only a few days before. “It was an honor to work with Penny and Nick,” offers DeLuca. “I deeply appreciated the trust they placed in me, especially at this critical stage of their career. Each day, we administered a system of care designed to loosen and strengthen her lower back, spine, neck and pelvis as well as keep Nick loose and limber. Fortunately, their drive and talent aided by my support and Evygeny’s instruction proved a winning combination.”
Initially unaware if they would even be able to compete when they arrived in France, Coomes and Buckland finished within the top 15 at the Worlds to firmly secure their position among the world’s best ice dancers as well as their sponsorship. “I couldn’t have done it without Tony,” explains Coomes, who moved to the United States two years ago to work six days-a-week, eight-to-nine hours-a-day with Platov in Southern N.J. “He worked magic. Under different circumstances, I would have pulled out. Tony identified the trouble when others couldn’t and worked tirelessly to keep me loose. Our success at the Worlds was the ultimate group effort and especially rewarding since I was no where near 100 percent.”
After a brief respite, Coomes and Buckland have already begun their intense training schedule with Platov in Mt. Laurel, N.J. However, this time their sights are not only set on the next round of international competitions, but also the 2014 Winter Olympics. The team of Coomes and Buckland had previously represented Great Britain at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, British Columbia. “I deeply appreciate the efforts of everyone around me,” adds Coomes. “Competing on the world stage is a team effort and it’s especially assuring to know Evgeny and Tony are on my side.”
In addition to working with Great Britain and Georgia at the 2010 World Championships, De Luca also served on the medical staffs of numerous teams participating in leading international sporting events. Most recently, this included attending to the medical needs of scores of athletes participating in the 2011 Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico as well as serving as team doctor for the Great Britain and Georgian national teams participating in the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships in Los Angeles, California, team physician for the Israeli team competing at the 2007 World Skating Championships in Japan and the Great Britain team entered in Skate America 2006.
DeLuca received his Doctorate degree in Chiropractic from Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, S.C., B.A. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. and recently graduated from the Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental medicine in Montclair, N.J. with clinical honors. A certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, he is also an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine, International Federation of Sports Chiropractic, American Chiropractic Association, American Chiropractic Association Sports Council, Association of New Jersey Chiropractors, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and American Fitness and Athletic Association.
Source: DeLuca Family Chiropractic, www.dfccares.com