Staff/Alumna Spotlight: Annie R. Babikian
Annie R. Babikian, DC, DACBSP, ’13 (LACC)
Dr. Babikian ’13 (LACC) is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians and completed a two-year residency in Primary Spine Care. She served as an attending clinician for interns. She has experience through several rotations at the United States Olympic Training Centers, caring for numerous types of Olympic and Paralympic athletes. In addition to a thriving private practice, Dr. Babikian serves as Clinical Faculty of the Tactical Sports Medicine Department at SCU.
Dr. Babikian, thank you for taking time to speak with us. Can you describe your educational background?
I graduated from La Sierra University with a degree in Biology: Biomedical Sciences. After graduating, I earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from SCU. I went on to become the first primary spine care resident at SCU. While in my residency, I completed postgraduate board certifications, including Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (CCSP) and the Diplomate of American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DACBSP).
What made you choose to attend SCU for your chiropractic degree?
I chose to attend SCU because I was interested in the Sports Medicine residency program and I knew my passion was in sports and athletics. SCU has a reputation for having one of the best programs in the nation.
What are some of the highlights from your experience as a student at SCU?
I knew I had to stand out and was very determined to get the best education possible, so I asked for guidance all the time from the sports medicine residents and other professors. Early on, someone told me, “Anything that comes out of Dr. Horrigan’s mouth is gold. Prepare yourself for sixth term.” Determined to make a good impression, I studied hard and prepared for the course, which would prove to pay off. Dr. Horrigan became my mentor and still is my mentor.
For many students, the first steps to launching a career after graduation can be daunting. Tell us about your experience?
In addition to my time at the USOC, I built my multidisciplinary clinical experience through rotations at University of Southern California, Los Angeles Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, San Diego Spine and Sport, Pacific Pearl of La Jolla, just to name a few. I feel it is extremely important to attain as much practice and skill as possible both during your education and thereafter. This gave me the confidence and drive needed to start my practice. I knew I could help patients in all populations with my clinical skills in sports medicine.
In addition to serving as Clinical Faculty of the Tactical Sports Medicine Department, you have a thriving private practice, correct?
I do have a sports medicine-focused private practice, Ultimate Spine, and Sport, in Huntington Beach. I work with athletes, weekend warriors and those who want to move and live a healthier life. Through my practice, I have worked with athletes from US Fencing, US Beach Volleyball, CrossFit, and high school football, ice hockey, soccer, cross-country and track, and field.
Tell us more about your work with the United States Olympics Committee:
I participate in the sports medicine volunteer program for the USOC. I have been to the training centers in Chula Vista and Colorado Springs. I am honored to participate in this program. When you are helping athletes of different sports and disciplines, and you see them on TV, they are representing the United States. They are representing us as a country; I am proud to be part of the team that builds up to that, even if you are only there for two weeks!
Take us inside the USOC training facilities. What stands out most about the centers?
The sports medicine facility at the USOC is like the Disneyland of sports medicine. Some of the equipment used to assess athlete performance includes a full rehab center with Pilates reformers, antigravity treadmills, and a biomechanics lab where sensors are used to evaluate biomechanical movements of athletes and reaction times. It is a great experience to be exposed to resources you could not get in your own clinic.
You’ve also worked with Paralympic athletes. What did you draw from that experience?
It was a big revelation and a humbling experience. Many of the athletes are either single or double amputees, and many have different categories of impairments, for example, visual impairment or mental impairments. During my last rotation in September, I worked with an athlete who is 100% blind. Even with these impairments, they do not see it as a disability; they use it as a driving challenge. It is amazing to see these athletes participate in crazy and different high impact sports.
In closing, do you have any words of wisdom for students interested in entering into the Sports Medicine field?
My advice is to stay focused, find a mentor, and volunteer. The more experience you can gain, the better. In addition, one of my favorite quotes is, “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Always strive to learn, put in the effort, stay humble and watch yourself succeed.
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