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Q and A with Dwight Reid, aka Doc Bones
Every Friday, the Portland Tribune puts questions to a prominent - or not so prominent - local person.
When he arrives at his second job, Doc Bones sees an identical scene every time: a bunch of rowdy girls all heading in the same direction, and it isn't straight.
Counterclockwise. It's always counterclockwise. Which contributes to its own unique problems, but we'll get to that later.
Bones, whose offstage name is Dwight Reid, serves as team doctor for the Portland-based Rose City Rollers. From nine-to-five he's a Clackamas-based chiropractor, which is appropriate, since in roller derby, not everything is as it appears.
Reid's day job at Bridgetown Chiropractic and Wellness is a lot more peaceful and a lot less rock and roll than the Saturday night gigs with the Rollers. Why, Reid even keeps his acoustic guitar propped up in the corner of his office.
But don't let the mild-mannered disguise fool you. Reid's other moonlighting gig? He's a corner man for Ultimate Fighters.
'The girls often joke that somebody has to keep them together,' Reid says. 'With my knowledge of the muscular skeletal system and anatomy, it is actually a really good fit for the impact sports.'
Portland Tribune: So what drew you to roller derby?
Dwight Reid: The moxie of it. That these girls had the retro attitude with the quad skates and the costumes. I remember watching the local L.A. roller derby when I was a child. It's the showmanship of it.
Tribune: You've been with the Rollers for a year. What do you remember about your first match?
Reid: The number of injuries I saw. For example, a girl fell and took a skate to the face.
Tribune: What are the most common derby injuries?
Reid: Torn ligaments in knees - ACLs, MCLs, there was a meniscus tear - hip bruises, broken ribs. That was another really bad one. She felt those for the next six months.
Tribune: How long before she could skate again?
Reid: She sat out one bout.
Tribune: As her doctor, did you think that was OK?
Reid: No. If it were me I would have stayed out longer. I told her just that. She said, 'My team needs me.' These are grown women. They can do what they want. We can only make recommendations.
Tribune: Ever try to get in the rink with the skaters?
Reid: No. I thought about it when I first signed up, but they said anybody who gets out in the rink with them ends up getting hurt. They've had guys going out there as coaches or friends, breaking arms, elbows, wrists. As a chiropractor, those are pretty valuable to me.
Tribune: Sometimes there's a scuffle. How do you tell a real fight from a staged one?
Reid: If it's a staged fight they tend to be having fun. The real ones, they're mad and it takes three or four full-grown men to pull them apart kicking and screaming.
Tribune: Do any of the Rollers come to you for standard chiropractic treatment?
Reid: One of them was here in my office about an hour ago. She has a job that's very stressful, and she tends to carry a lot of tension in her back and upper neck. She finds a lot of relief in what I do.
Tribune: Wait a minute. You're saying she's got a job that's more stressful than roller derby?
Reid: There are girls from all walks of life in this league. There's a pharmacist, a mechanical engineer, there's a lawyer. There are stay-at-home moms, and there are dancers. It's not at all who you'd think it would be. A lot of people think it's just a bunch of beer-drinking girls.
Tribune: Do you remember your first impression meeting these women?
Reid: I was asked to come down to a bar in the Hawthorne District to meet all the girls. I walked in, and they were all crowded into an area with a couple pool tables. One girl decides to challenge every other girl in the room to arm-wrestling. The pool table was cleared, and one after another they began arm-wrestling for an hour.
Tribune: Does roller derby cause any unusual injuries?
Reid: They go around the track in the same direction, counterclockwise, so they end up with slight muscular imbalances. Their outside leg is where they push off, whereas their inside legs they sweep in. I often advise them to cross-train, turn around and go the other way.
- Peter Korn