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LACC Alumnus, United States Air Force Veteran, Finds Passion in Sports Medicine

scu-stories / SCU Staff / 02.08.18
Dr. Michael Fanning

Dr. Michael Fanning ’16 (LACC) recently graduated from the Doctorate of Chiropractic program at SCU’s Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC) Cum Laude and received the Dr. Lester McCoy Clinical Excellence Award. He is now part of the SCU Chiropractic Sports Medicine Residency Program. Before studying at SCU, Dr. Fanning served in the United States Air Force for six years supporting operations of the United States Army.

After experiencing several sports-related injuries and finding no relief through medical doctor visits, Dr. Fanning was persuaded by a friend in the chiropractic profession to pursue chiropractic care for treatment. He was amazed that his debilitating injuries were successfully treated with chiropractic care. “That’s why I came here,” says Dr. Fanning.

As he progressed in his studies at LACC, Dr. Fanning found himself drawn to sports medicine. He decided that the next steps in his career would be to enter into the Sports Medicine Residency program at SCU. “Dr. Horrigan’s class really inspired me (to go into the sports residency program), and as I got toward the end of my 10th term, I realized that I still had a lot to learn as far as diagnosing. I talked to previous residents, and they said it was a really good experience for getting good at diagnosing all kinds of injuries,” says Dr. Fanning.

As a resident, Dr. Fanning has the opportunity to work at several tournaments and competitions—ranging from company events to world-class competitions, in sports as traditional as football, and as diverse as rugby, BMX, and fencing.

A typical day as sports medicine resident is not so typical. “Monday through Friday we are here about 12 hours,” Dr. Fanning explains, “but most of our events are held on weekends. We’re always working an event!” Just in the past few months, these events have included Taekwondo tournaments; In-and-Out Company sports events, and American Weightlifting competitions.

In addition to their hands-on work, sports residents are responsible for completing online diplomate courses, building content for the Sports Medicine Honors Track, and teaching classes like Emergency Procedures, Sports Taping, Sports Physicals, and Roles and Responsibilities of a Team Physician. He also helps out weekly in the training rooms at Whittier College and Cal State Fullerton.

A highlight of SCU’s Sports Medicine Program for Dr. Fanning was his participation in a six-week clinical rotation at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). These rotations give sports residents the opportunity to work in an integrative clinic with world-class doctors treating top-level athletes. On premises, there are several healthcare providers including chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, athletic trainers, dieticians, and medical doctors.

During his rotation with the USOC, Dr. Fanning worked with Men’s and Women’s Rugby, BMX riders, archery, and able-bodied and Paralympic track and field athletes. Dr. Fanning feels that one of the best parts of the USOC rotation was working under Dr. Kevin Pierce. Dr. Pierce, who has also completed the Sports Residency Program at SCU, is described by Dr. Fanning as a person who “Has a wealth of knowledge and really wants to help (the sports residents) and just better the profession. Having the opportunity to learn from him and ask questions is invaluable.”

As Dr. Fanning embarks upon a successful career in sports medicine, we asked him what advice he would offer to students considering the SCU’s Sports Residency Program? “Be prepared to work your (butt) off and work a lot of hours. You have to be open-minded and be able to take criticism from people you have never met and sometimes aren’t chiropractors,” advised Dr. Fanning, “I wish there were a one year residency program for everyone.”


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