SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Dr. David Gabay welcomes a new chiropractor to his longstanding practice in Spa City – and he’s not your average guy.
The Schenectady native Dr. John Napier is a 2010 Winter Olympics, a war veteran in Afghanistan. As he moves into the next chapter of his life, he is now the newest chiropractor in Saratoga Springs.
In January Napier joined Dr. David Gabay Chiropractic, where he worked alongside Dr. David Gabay works.
Gabay and Napier met about 10 years ago when Gabay began serving Napier’s bobsleigh team at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training center in Lake Placid, shortly after Napier competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
The two men bonded because of their ties to the capital region and the relationship grew from there. “When we met, things kind of clicked,” said Gabay. “It’s been a good symbiotic evolution over the years.”
As a patient of Gabay during his time on the World Cup circuit, Napier admired his sense of humor and manner with patients and was inspired to pursue a career in chiropractic, and in particular manual therapy.
“I like that he knows the patient personally, he knows what they are doing, which affects their life, but he also treats the tissue – puts a thumb on it, puts a finger on it, and actually treats that tissue manually,” said Napier of Gabay’s treatment method that he experienced firsthand when he had an injury. “It helped me a lot with my rehabilitation.
“It has helped me in my athletic career and now I’m here trying to give that service back.”
Some would say Napier has already given back his fair share by serving the country. Napier is a staff sergeant in the National Guard and completed a six-month tour of Afghanistan in 2010.
Prior to this tour, Napier asked to be fired from the World Class Athlete Program, a military unit that supports soldiers on the US Olympic team, to join his National Guard in Afghanistan.
“Immediately after the Olympic Games I was sent to Afghanistan on request,” said Napier, “because my guard unit was in Afghanistan and I thought,” How can I become a soldier? How can I call myself a soldier when they are there and I am here? ‘”
Napier’s worlds sometimes collide when interacting with veterans in the Adaptive Sports Foundation’s U.S. Para Bobsled program. Later this week he will help make the Para Bobsleigh World Cup possible in Lake Placid.
Napier also had the opportunity to work with veterans as an intern at a Veterans Affairs Hospital while studying at New York Chiropractic College in western New York.
After Napier received his doctorate in chiropractic, he returned to the capital area to become part of Gabay’s chiropractic office. He started seeing patients last month and will continue to expand his role in the practice as he moves into a full-time position.
While he has brought in another doctor, Gabay plans to continue working at the practice and caring for his patients. Now, in his 39th year of practice, “bringing someone in is a natural transition,” said Gabay, who believes Napier is the right doctor for the job. “He has the personality, he has the knowledge.”
Napier believes that his diverse life experiences prepared him for success in this field.
“I’ll take my military background and my sports background. They have both helped me to be successful and competent in this world so far, ”he said.
Looking ahead, Napier plans to earn his Diplomate American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physician certification so that he can work with high-level athletes. This certification is held by only approximately 320 chiropractors worldwide, including Gabay.
Overall, Napier’s goal for the future is to learn as much as possible from Gabay. “And if I can mimic half the patient care he offers, half that level of quality, then I think I would be successful because watching him with patients is really special,” said Napier.
In addition, Napier will continue to be involved in the National Guard and bobsleigh.
Napier currently runs youth and junior bobsleigh programs in Lake Placid. Later this month, Napier will travel to Germany for the 2020 Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation International World Championships, where he will serve as ambassador for Lake Placid and New York State at the World Championships next year.
More information about Dr. David Gabay Chiropractic at 550 Maple Ave. in Saratoga Springs, visit online at drgabay.com or call (518) 584-1008.