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Elliot Eisenberg (left) and Chris Young Photo by Ash Daniel
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Young and Eisenberg with football player Walt Sparks Photo by Ash Daniel
Elliot Eisenberg: [Chris has] been there for 16 years; I've been involved since about 2005. I would show up on game day with my portable table, and I remember the orthopedic doctors were all sort of looking at me like, "Who is this guy?" I knew Chris on another basis — he had performed shoulder surgery on me in 1991, he's worked on my wife's knees, my son's knees, did my other shoulder in 2009. And I think Chris recognized me, and we started talking a little bit, and he pretty much cleared the way, so I became much more "accepted," as it were, because traditionally there's been some animosity or rivalry between the medical and the chiropractic professions. Chris Young: Both of the disciplines treat musculoskeletal conditions, so historically, I guess, maybe the reason that there wasn't as much collegiality or working together was that there may have been just competition for patients. This has been a situation where we both have taken advantage of each other's skills and have worked together for the benefit of the University of Richmond, as well as other patients. EE: A lot of times, you know, it used to be, people had back trouble, there was a surgery right away. [For example], it was in 2009, and this guy was a linebacker, and he had a condition called spondylolisthesis, which is a situation where there's a non-union of the two parts of the vertebrae. Our chiropractic concept is that yes, there may be a separation, but the back pain comes from overcompensating joints above and below that defective area. So rather than him going into surgery, I was able to work with him on a weekly basis, he stayed in the game, he stayed pain-free. Chris was open to the idea [of seeing] what I could do about it. CY: There are some conditions that sometimes require surgery, and sometimes don't require surgery. And for most back conditions, if you can avoid surgery, that's a good thing. One of our athletes had a condition that may have required surgery, a really great kid, high performer, and working with Elliot he was able to deal with his back condition and still perform at a high level. EE: I haven't seen a single player on this team that doesn't come up and just give [Chris] a hug, and tell him, "Thanks a lot, I really appreciate what you've done." Any patient I've ever sent him, even from my private practice, always comes back and says, "My gosh, isn't he great?" I know with confidence, if I send them over for something, if he says surgery's necessary, you know it's necessary. But, if you know the surgery's going to be done, it's going to be done right the first time. I have just ultimate faith and praise for him. CY: [Elliot is] just a great guy, he's fun to be around, and he's a really good person. He does a great job at all levels — not just the hands-on level, but all the student athletes like him; they look forward to seeing him. EE: There was a time last year sometime, we were on the sidelines, and all the medical doctors stand — we all stand on the sidelines. And there's still some of them who are a little stand-offish to me, in my opinion. And we got into the training room during halftime, and Chris says, "You know, my back's been bothering me, could you do something for me?" And he lay down on the table, and I gave him an adjustment, and the next thing you know, four or five of the other doctors said, "Let me feel what that's like." Since that time, I'm just like one of the boys on the sidelines, and I think that was his way of saying to the other docs, "Hey, this guy's a part of the team, he helps us, I respect what he does." I think through Chris, he's helped me gain the respect, and I feel good. I really love being part of the team effort. CY: It's just the natural development of a positive relationship over many years. It's just been becoming closer at all those different levels — closer friends from a personal point of view, and then a closer appreciation of his skill, and then just a real sense of thankfulness for all that he's done for my patients and the school.