While the rest of his boxing team practiced at the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Olympic Training Center, one young man watched from the sidelines, a muscle tear and significant scar tissue having put an end—or so he thought—to his days in the ring. But then massage therapist Amy Murry massaged the boxer’s leg, and he decided to enter the competition. To his surprise and delight, he emerged victorious.
From athlete to MT
A serious athlete throughout her life, Murry, who owns Human Body Works in Lacey, Washington, never planned to specialize in sports massage, but her affiliation with athletic teams and lifelong involvement with sports, steered her career path. During the last 20 years, she has worked on a range of athletes, including bodybuilders, weightlifters, karate experts, golfers, figure skaters, boxers, skeleton crew members and others, but holds a special affinity for swimmers.
A member of the USA Swimming Sports Science and Medicine Team, the American Massage Therapy Association’s (AMTA) Washington Sports Massage Team, a Coach Member of USA Swimming and an American Swimming Coaches Association Certified Coach, Murry is especially proud of her participation in the U.S. Olympic Committee Sports Medicine Volunteer Program.
The Olympic Training Center
During rotations at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, Murry has an opportunity to work on a variety of athletes and share techniques and learn from other therapists.
“We massage whoever is at the training center at the time,” she says. “It’s fun to see the different athletes and how they use their bodies.”
As part of the volunteer program, Murry has traveled to wrestling competitions and swim meets on the West Coast. In 2014, she had a unique cultural experience when she visited Qatar for the FINA World Swimming Championship.
A unique perspective
Being an athlete gives Murry a leg up when it comes to her sports-minded clients.
“They find it comforting that I am an athlete. I understand getting up at 5 a.m. and working out for two hours,” she says. “Some people see the level at which an athlete works as body abuse. But athletes don’t need someone criticizing them. You need to meet them where they are at, have an open mind to different theories.”
Her awareness of the way the body works and how injuries can affect performance give her an advantage.
While Murry specializes in sports massage, she also has clients who are not elite athletes.
“Take the 45-year-old woman just learning to run,” she explains. “Those are my favorite people to work with, someone who is rediscovering herself.”
Murry said she feels privileged to be part of the Olympic family. “It’s fun to support the athletes in a small, but powerful, way, to be part of their routine. During an event, you might be the last person to wish them good luck and the first to congratulate them afterward.”
About the Author
Phyllis Hanlon has written nonfiction articles and book reviews as well as human-interest stories, profiles and award-winning essays. Her specialty areas include health and medicine, religion, education and business. She regularly delights in the joys of massage.