SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dr. David Gabay still occasionally finds his dreams drifting back to when he was fresh out of college.
“It’s funny, I still have the dreams where I wake up, and I’m still in chiropractic college and I have three months to graduate, and I don’t know where I’m gonna go,” Gabay said. “And now it’s 35 years later.”
Gabay first established his private chiropractic practice in Saratoga Springs back in May of 1982, just a few months after finishing school in December of 1981. He had completed his undergraduate degree at Stony Brook, and his graduate school had been the New York Chiropractic College, which was then located in Long Island. He initially stressed about which direction to take his career early on, not sure whether to go work some place as an associate, or to start up his own practice. Despite offers from respected chiropractors in Manhattan and Long Island, he followed the urgings of family friend Robert D. Scott to come check out the Saratoga area for a potential practice.
After staying with Scott for around two weeks, Gabay made the decision to take a risk on his own practice, starting out with a location on Myrtle Street. Having grown up in the Pine Bush section of Albany, it was something of a homecoming for him. Now, many years and accomplishments later, Gabay’s practice is still going strong on the second floor of a building on Maple Avenue, just across from the middle school tennis courts.
Gabay recalled an amusing exchange from the early days of his practice. Two of his first patients, local golf enthusiasts Mike McGraw and Denny Farone, were interested in checking out “the new guy in town.” Both men were in need of a chiropractor, but expressed concern over getting treatment from someone as young as Gabay.
“To this day, Mike remembers my response,” Gabay said. “I said, ’Well, do you want somebody who’s old or do you want somebody that’s good?’”
Gabay began to get involved in sports medicine in 1994 after Dr. Philip Santiago, the first ever chiropractor chosen to be part of the U.S. Olympic Team Medical Staff, established the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician program to offer specialized training to chiropractors looking to work with professional athletes and Olympians. Gabay completed his certification over the course of three years, going to Meadowlands area of N.J. one weekend each month for classes and hands-on instruction. From time to time, he worked with the New York Giants while working towards his certification, occasionally attending games to help the players on-site.
A few years later, Gabay went to work at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, alongside a number of other professionals from a wide variety of medical disciplines. His and everyone else’s job there was to help get as many injured athletes off the bench as possible in time for them to compete in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Gabay stayed in the position right up until the athletes shipped out for the games. He was offered the opportunity to attend the games, but ut as a solo practitioner, Gabay could not be away from his practice for another 3 weeks.
Since then, Gabay has worked with U.S. bobsledding, skeleton, and luge teams at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, and recently procured funding and casted orthotics for Bobsled, athletes.
Some of the teams that Gabay worked with included the U.S. wrestling teams, the judo and taekwondo teams, the weightlifting team, the shooting team, and more. Some of the notable individuals that Gabay worked with during this time included three-time wrestling gold medalist and future Edinboro University athletic director Bruce Baumgartner, and gold medalist and future WWE performer Kurt Angle.
In his spare time, Gabay likes to work on restoring classic cars, for which he has a garage set up out back of the building where his practice is. Often on the weekends, he gets together with a group of friends to work on his latest restoration project.
(UPDATE, 11:42 a.m., 7/7: This online article has been changed with minor corrections, and so differs from the print article.)