Thursday, June 13

Massage Therapy Played Key Role In U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Winning Olympic Gold

Sports, at any level, are highly competitive and can result in serious injuries. Sports at the Olympic level, though, are unparalleled when it comes to both competition and sheer effort. Especially Olympic hockey — if a player or team doesn’t have a trusted trainer onsite, injuries can worsen rapidly, causing even more medical issues and potentially even ending careers.

Addressing immediate on-field injuries is essential but rehabilitation is just as important for Olympic athletes. That’s where massage therapy comes in. Approximately 92% of massage therapy patients agree that massages are quite effective when it comes to pain reduction.

According to Massage Magazine, massage therapist Jennifer Chee significantly contributed to the U.S. Women’s hockey gold medal.

The championship game between the U.S. and Canadian women’s ice hockey teams has already been dubbed one of the most thrilling moments in Olympic history. The athletes had already skated through regulation game time, followed by 20 minutes of overtime, went to a penalty shootout, and then a sudden-death shootout to determine the victor: the U.S. Women’s Team.

Chee, a member of the team’s five-member medical team, was rink-side at the conclusion of the game.

“I was introduced to sports massage by my children, believe it or not,” Chee said. “My older daughter was a competitive figure skater and my two youngest ones were competitive tennis players.”

Chee graduated from Austin Community College’s massage program in 2005 and relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado to enroll and finish the massage program at the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy in 2009. She was then invited to travel with the U.S. women’s hockey team back in 2011 and accepted the position right away.

“I said ‘yes’ without hesitation,” she added. “This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Chee provides deep massages to players during rest days and, during the season, adds in active and passive eccentric contractor, muscle stripping, and muscle-broadening techniques.

“It really teaches athletes about their bodies,” added Allyson Howe, MD, physician and head of the U.S. Women’s Hockey medical team. “For them to have a massage therapist identify tender points they weren’t aware of and talk them through the releasing of points — it’s priceless.”

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