History of the RCCSS(C):
With the bestowment of the “Royal” prefix by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada) is now known as the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada).
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History of the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences – Canada (RCCSS(C))
Since its establishment well over a century ago, chiropractic has played a valuable role with athletes from recreational sports to international competition. And, for over half a century the chiropractic sports community has been firmly entrenched with sport organizations as a valued partner in health care delivery. In one of the first documented partnerships, Dr. Harry Williams, a Canadian chiropractor, worked in the 1950’s with the Toronto Maple Leafs professional hockey team, providing years of professional service. Dr. Williams gained a renowned reputation for enhancing athlete performance and reducing time loss from injury.
As the Canadian population began to develop a greater interest in structured physical activity and participate in the trend of organized sport, the demand for sports-centred chiropractic grew. By 1970, there were nearly 1000 chiropractors registered in the province of Ontario alone; a number substantially larger that when it first received legislation in the 1920s. As the professional membership grew, special interest groups began to emerge. One of the earliest and most prominent factions was in the area of sports chiropractic.
Present day sports chiropractic in Canada evolved from two previous organizations. The first, termed the Canadian Academy of Chiropractic Sports Therapists (CACST) was soon renamed after a debate surfaced regarding the profession’s concern with the word “therapist”. As a result, CACST was soon renamed the Canadian Chiropractic Sports Academy (CCSA) in 1978.
The CCSA gradually became less active over the next several years and after a period of dormancy, sports chiropractic was re-organized in Canada with yet another name change to reflect its rebirth and modernization. The organization, College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada), or CCSS(C), evolved out of the ever growing need to coordinate and direct the involvement of the chiropractic profession with athletic and sport-minded communities. Receiving its charter from the Canadian Chiropractic Association in October 1984, the CCSS(C) was granted its patent letters by the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, for the Government of Canada. Moving forward, the college continued to expand and mature into a influential part of Canada’s sports health care community. It exists now as the largest post graduate organization for chiropractic sports sciences in the world and equal player in Canada’s sports medicine system. Furthermore, it has become the key provider for political and inter-professional relationships for the Canadian Chiropractic Association with the various sport communities both in Canada and internationally.
To achieve the present level of accomplishments and build for the future needs of the chiropractic profession, to meet the requirements of the vastly changing health care needs of the professional and amateur athlete, the RCCSS(C) developed the Field Practitioner Program (FPP). The FPP was designed for the established and experienced practitioner to complete the necessary requirements to achieve specialty status (i.e., Fellowship) with the RCCSS(C). By completing an academic program on a part time basis over a period of three years and successful completion of research, practical, four competency examinations and other program requirements, the practicing chiropractor, while maintaining an active practice, could earn their Specialty designation. As such, they would receive the prestigious “Fellow of the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences” and be recognized by the designation FRCCSS(C). This is one of only five chiropractic specialties in Canada recognized by the Canadian Federation of Chiropractic Regulatory Boards (CFCRB).
Sports Chiropractic Education Program
To establish a high level of expertise and meet the requirements of a vastly evolving sports health care environment, the RCCSS(C) developed the Field Practitioner Program (FPP); a sports specialized education program designed to train chiropractors to best meet the needs of the athletes they serve. The FPP was created for the established and experienced practitioner to complete the necessary requirements to achieve specialty status (i.e., Fellowship) with the RCCSS(C). By completing an academic program on a part time basis over a period of three years and successful completion of research, extensive on-field training, four competency examinations and other program requirements, the practicing chiropractor, while maintaining an active practice, could earn their specialty designation. As such, they would receive the prestigious “Fellow of the College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences” and be recognized by the designation FRCCSS(C).
The first FPP began in Montreal in October 1984, with the first “graduates” completing the Fellowship examinations in January, 1988. The program proved tremendously popular and a second program began in Toronto in September of 1985. In 1993 a program was initiated in Vancouver and in 1997 the final Field Practitioner Program was offered in Winnipeg. The remaining Doctors of Chiropractic involved in the Field Practitioner Program completed their courses by 2000. The FPP was subsequently discontinued in its existing format with the creation on a new institutionally based post-graduation program.
During the tenure of the Field Practitioner Program the next natural evolution for the RCCSS(C) was to initiate a residency program within Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC), Canada’ flagship chiropractic educational institution. The concept of a residency program was born at a RCCSS(C) retreat in Cambridge, Ontario in 1990 and in 1995 the CMCC Sports Residency program was established. Unlike the three year/part-time Field Practitioner Program, the Residency Program was designed to be a full-time, 2-year program of study. This program, which is now one of three residency programs offered at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, continues today with multiple applicants vying for 2-3 positions annually within the Sports Residency Program. The program involves the cooperation of many Universities across Canada, as well as practical and hands-on training at a number of sports injuries centres and professional team placements. As such, it has become the envy of many similar programs in the world.
Following the termination of the FPP, a new sports chiropractic specialized training program began in January 2000. Termed the Sports Sciences Residency Program or SSRP, the program was similar to the FPP, permiting Doctors of Chiropractic in private practice the opportunity to attain their Sports Fellowship without sacrificing their practices. Centred on a specific program mandate and detailed objectives, the SSRP was created to offer chiropractic sports specialty training through post-secondary educational institutions throughout Canada. Each program, under the direction of an approved regional supervisor, was uniquely designed to afford participants the most effective way to meet the program goals. With a minimum of 1000 hours of field work, graduate level academic focus on exercise physiology, sports nutrition, sports psychology, advanced imaging, research methodology, acute injury management and other aspects of sports chiropractic, the SSRP was designed to be the most extensive sports specialty training of any health care profession. The new breed of Chiropractic Sports Fellow was emerging better prepared than ever before to represent sports chiropractic throughout Canada and the world.
At present, five specific centres are providing instruction throughout Canada:: University of Calgary, Alberta; Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, Ontario; University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario; University of Dalhousie, Nova Scotia; and University of British Columbia, British Columbia. The program is under review in other Provinces, at various institutions and is undergoing an evolutionary change with on-line education opportunities for academic components of the program.
Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada) – Modern Day
The original RCCSS(C) objective of providing the profession with the latest information in the diagnosis and management of acute sport trauma has truly expanded as a result of the growing needs of its members, the profession as a whole, with sport organizations and the athletic community worldwide. The RCCSS(C) now promotes and establishes standardization of treatment protocols, diagnostic and therapeutic terminology, as well as expertise in athletic rehabilitation and injury prevention.
Graduates of the RCCSS(C) are active in keeping abreast of the latest concepts in injury prevention, general health and wellness issues and performance enhancement through biomechanical integrity and the physics of human motion. To support this increased demand for expertise, the RCCSS(C) has also facilitated the emergence of more sports chiropractic specialists focusing on the field of sports research.
Through the efforts of the RCCSS(C), chiropractors are represented on Canadian Core Health Care Teams that accompany Mission Staff and athletes to Minor/Developmental and Major Games. Minor or Developmental Games include the World University Games (Summer and Winter), World Francophone Games, Commonwealth Games and Canada Summer and Winter Games. Major games are the Pan American Games, and the Olympic and Paralympic Summer and Winter Games. Currently, the Canadian Health Care Team for these various Games reserve positions for chiropractors, specifically those with the RCCSS(C) sports fellowship designation (FRCCSS(C)). Further, sports chiropractors are firmly entrenched in the multidisciplinary care of athletes, maintaining funding support for the treatment of national level athletes with several Canadian Sport Centres throughout the country. As sports specialists with a unique view of the body and its mechanics, we are now being requested to participate in health care teams for a variety of national and international athletic events.
The RCCSS(C) maintains and encourages the highest standards and ethics of practice within the chiropractic profession with a detailed ‘Code of Conduct’ and ‘Guidelines for Chiropractors at Athletic Events’ adopted by all RCCSS(C) members.
Recognized and regulated by the Canadian Federation of Chiropractic Regulatory and Education Accrediting Boards (CFCREAB), the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada) has become a leading organization in the chiropractic profession founded on professionalism, excellence, and unimpeachable integrity. It is through the dedication of so many chiropractors who have given of their time and expertise over the past two and half decades that the RCCSS(C) has eliminated the professional barriers that have limited full chiropractic integration into all aspects of the sports health care system. It is through this greater inter-professional communication that the establishment of mutual professional respect has emerged.
The College is a healthy, vibrant, and active organization which represents sports chiropractors from coast to coast to coast. In the community it represents all aspects of Canada and includes visible minorities, females, individuals with disability and both English and French Canada. Where ever sports are played in Canada chiropractors are sure to play an integral role. Chiropractors are part of the framework and institutions of Canada; the future is bright.