Olympic skeleton champ Montgomery tries Crosby's wild ride
It’s a wilder ride than you’ll get in most amusement parks, but rather than scrambling your brain it’s supposed to help rewire it for the better.
With the help of Crosby’s trainer Andy O’Brien, Montgomery and Deschamps were able to get treatment from Dr. Ted Carrick, the man who pioneered chiropractic neurology at Life University in Atlanta.
Deschamps suffered a concussion last December while training on terrible ice conditions in Lillehammer, while Montgomery went to Atlanta to get a baseline test.
Deschamps thought she had a mild concussion but she tested for a major concussion. Montgomery also tested for symptoms of dysfunction in the brain, probably due to 10 years of skeleton runs.
“It was similar to the kind of things they see in wakeboarding and motorcross where they repeatedly wipe out,” said Montgomery.
When Montgomery and Deschamps did exercises where a pattern was introduced in front of them and they tried to follow a moving line or dot, there was no reflex reaction in their eyes.
“Darla’s and my eyes were pretty much flatline – they weren’t moving,” said Montogmery. “It didn’t have that natural reflex.”
Montgomery and Deschamps both got to experience the GyroStim, a gyroscope which turns patients every which way in a pattern that is designed for their specific brain issues. They spun three times a day for four days – Crosby was there at the same time. It was a return trip for Crosby, who first underwent the uncoventional therapy in August.
“I guess the first time that Sid was in the machine, he was not feeling very well at all,” said Montgomery. “He went back to the hotel and didn’t return for more therapy that day.”
Montgomery said Carrick’s therapy is designed to re-train the brain.
“He has recognized ways to build a new grid for the brain or create new pathways to achieve the proper neuro firing patterns that have been compromised in brain,” said Montgomery. “He used an analogy that makes a lot of sense to me. It’s like a busy highway that has a blockage in it, it’s had an accident and been shut down.
“Other doctors would just say you have to wait in traffic until that blockage becomes unimpeded. If it never becomes unimpededed, guess what, you’re never getting through. Dr. Carrick’s approach is he turns on his GPS and finds a new route to get around this pathway that has been shut down.”
Montgomery became a believer after the treatment and from the marked improvements he saw in other patients treated there.
“The brain is an incredibly adaptive piece of equipment and it will find new ways to accomplish the same end result when something’s been compromised,” he said. “By stimulating the brain with this GyroStim machine, they essentially create new pathways for those neuro firing responses to send signals to the desired end location.
“The way it works I believe is there’s one constant in our lives – that’s gravity. By spinning the human body on a multi-place axis and essentially denying the body of the one constant, you’re able to stimulate the brain in a previously unachievable manner.”
Montgomery said he and Deschamps experienced a “massive improvement” in the natural reflex response in their eyes after the treatment. While Deschamps said some of her concussion symptoms came back during the treatment, she showed a huge improvement the following week as her dizziness and nauseousness disappeared and her energy levels rose.
Montgomery knows there’s doubters out there, especially after Crosby was knocked out with concussions symptoms again shortly after returning.
“The reason there’s an element of skepticism out there is simply because people don’t understand it. It’s my firm belief this stuff won’t be fringe medicine anymore. It will be widely accepted.”
Montgomery and Deschamps said it’s also going to be important in moving forward to change the mentality in skeleton racing. She was injured while doing multiple runs – she said four times as many as usual -- on unfavourable track conditions.
“We’ve got to be responsible and say when enough is enough and not be pushed to do more simply for the sake of doing more,” Montgomery said.