Who is Dr. Jenn Turner?
A sports chiropractor living in New Westminster, currently serving as a sports chiropractor with the Canadian cycling team at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
What’s on her resumé?
Her expertise as a sports chiropractor has taken Turner around the world with her job with Cycling Canada. Her career highlights include working at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Turner has been working with Cycling Canada during the past nine years in the track, road and BMX programs and was proud to see some of her athletes win a bronze medal at both of these Games.
Turner has travelled to Europe as part of the medical team for the national bobsled and skeleton teams, where they were competing in the Europa Cup Circuit. She also has experience working with the professional cycling Team Sky out of Great Britain and has worked with a number of other professional, Olympic and amateur athletes. Jenn has been the “Injuries” columnist for Triathlon Magazine Canada and has contributed to the Triathlon BC publication, IMPACT magazine and many others.
Turner has a background of being a competitive athlete herself. Her involvement in triathlon began at age 18, and, after a varsity swimming and cross-country running career, she discovered that her passion and talent lies in long-course triathlon. She won the gold medal at the World Long Course Triathlon Championships in 2005 in Denmark. Currently Turner is competing recreationally “while figuring out the mommy/work/life/travel balance,” as she puts it.
We asked Dr. Turner some questions about herself and about her experiences in Tokyo, and she was kind enough to answer them live from the Games by email.
Here is that Q&A:
Tell us about yourself:
I am a sports chiropractor living in New Westminster with my husband (former Salmonbellie and also chiropractor, Kevin Lunnie) and my two very sporty kids, aged five and seven. I own Movéo Sport & Rehabilitation Centre, a multidisciplinary clinic with two locations, one in North Vancouver and one in Walnut Grove Langley – complete with chiropractors, physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists and naturopathic physicians.
I am is a certified chiropractic sport specialist, holding the designation of Fellow with the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences, Canada’s only recognized designation for chiropractic sports specialists. This designation requires several additional years of study, research and sports fieldwork to complete after attaining a university degree and doctorate of chiropractic. I apply my extensive experience to all my patients: athletes, weekend warriors and non-athletes alike.
Tell us about your current role as sports chiropractor with the Canadian cycling team at the Olympics:
I have been working as a sports chiropractor with the Cycling Canada national team since 2008. I started out with the track and road programs, and now I work extensively with BMX racing. The program is centralized here in British Columbia, just outside of Vancouver, so it works well for me to be involved on a regular basis with the athletes and other members of their integrated support team.
Primarily my role here is injury management, and in this sport there are many, many injuries. There are lots of crashes, so I have to be sure my emergency first responder knowledge is up-to-date, as the injuries vary from road rash, cuts and scrapes to traumatic injuries such as fractures and such. I do my best to manage these injuries and get them back to training as quickly as possible in this high-level sporting environment.
I travel quite a bit with the team (in normal times) all over the world to World Cup competitions and world championships. My role here expands, as we have so few staff that I take on other roles to help the competitions run smoothly for the athletes. I become a videographer, a bike carrier, a chauffeur, a gear carrier and generally whatever else I am needed to be.
Can you describe what it’s like to attend the Olympics during a pandemic?
Well, there are basic COVID protocols in place such as hand sanitization everywhere, and we have daily COVID tests. In preparation for the Olympics, we have read manual after manual after manual – these allusive "playbooks" to be sure everyone here understands rules and protocols for any possible COVID-related situation. There are plastic barriers between every seat in the dining hall. Everyone is in masks at all times in the village.
A positive test for anyone means their Games experience is done, and most staff and athletes understand that and don't want to risk that consequence.
We are pretty segregated to the Village and aren't allowed outside, unlike previous Games where we could go and explore the host city and take in all it has to offer. We travel to our sport venue on official games transportation/buses, which are "sealed" upon departure, and we are ushered by volunteers on pre-approved routes. There are, however, tons of local Japanese volunteers, and all are super excited to have us there, and many go out of their way to help us and make us feel welcome.
One of the biggest "losses," however, besides the fact that there are no fans in the stands, is the lack of gathering spaces or lounges within the Canadian accommodations. One of the biggest parts of the Games is that gathering and bonding of athletes and staff members from other sports as we watch and cheer on other countrymates. That vibe is missing, and, having experienced that at past Games, it’s quite sad. Hopefully this is the anomaly year, though, and that tradition can be back and stronger in the years going forward.
COVID aside, what’s the vibe like in Tokyo?
The vibe inside the village is the same – incredible – except everyone is wearing masks. Everyone has this pent-up anticipation, perhaps due to the extra year we had to wait, for this to happen that the energy is unreal. And people are extra happy they get the chance to live their dreams after all, after it nearly slipped away when the Olympics were postponed last year. So the energy in here is amazing – indescribable, really. I am so lucky to be part of this.
Which other Olympics have you attended?
My first Olympics were in London 2012, when I worked with track cycling (velodrome). Some of the athletes I worked extensively with won a bronze medal there. I was also in Rio in 2016 but with BMX. I am here in Tokyo supporting BMX as well, as I work year-round with this team in clinic, at the daily training environment at times, and travel the World Cup circuit.
What do you like about living in New West?
New Westminster is an amazing place to raise our family. My husband and I are both from small-town Ontario and love that this city feels like a small town. We love that it's a big lacrosse town; my husband, Kevin Lunnie, played for the Senior Salmonbellies for eight seasons, and we love that our kids have embraced that lacrosse sport culture. Both my husband and I are involved in the New Westminster Minor Lacrosse Association and the New Westminster Minor Hockey Association as our kids gain the valuable experience of learning sports.
– with reporting by Theresa McManus