We do our best at Phare. Our performers have coaches that have been in the business for decades, and we’re sometimes graced with professional circus and artistic directors from around the world that come as guests to support Phare’s cause.
We also have health insurance for our artists in case any accidents or ailments strike, but… life here is far from perfect. We’re still in Cambodia and standards in basic services such as health are discouragingly low. There are some reasonable clinical practices in town for the basics, but if there’s a need for a qualified specialist, say in orthopedics, chiropractics, or Sports Medicine, we are essentially, out of luck.
However, doctors travel too, and recently we were able to get acquainted with Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, Anthony Close. Dr. Close (U.S.A.) and his wife Hannah (Registered Nurse from New Zealand) are in Cambodia on a service tour to remote villages on the Cambodian countryside.
Zoom in to late last week when Phare’s Khmer Metal crew was rehearsing for the opening night of the show. One of our stars, hand-balancer and acrobatic-base, Sothea, found himself struggling through practice with severe pain in his neck and shoulder. Ever wake up finding yourself unable to turn your head to the side because of something that happened the day before? Now, imagine that same day you have to balance two people above your head while one of them lands a back flip. Probably hard for most of us to imagine, actually.
Fortunately, we were able to have Dr. Close come by our site and work with Sothea. The verdict? A small tear in his levator scapula muscle. Now, of course, even if there were a substitute available to stand in for him for the next few nights, Sothea refused to even consider not “going on with the show.” So, through some spinal mobilizations, manual therapy on his shoulder muscles, and use of some kinesio tape, Dr. Close was able to restore a surprising amount of mobility to Sothea’s neck and shoulder.
After a visit the next day and another treatment, Dr. Close commented on how impressed he was with Sothea’s response to just 2 treatments saying, “guys like Sothea with such flexible muscle tissue are a rare occurrence in the patients I see… their gymnastics training saves them from what would generally be a crippling injury for anyone else.”
Of course, Dr. Close deserves some credit for saving the day himself as the show indeed went on and received its not atypical standing ovation on both of the first 2 nights! We’re in the process of trying to schedule a mass check-up appointment for all our performers with Dr. Close while he is still in the country. Stay tuned!