Faces of LIFE- Dr. Sean Finnegan
D.C. Alumnus, Faculty Member and Director of Clinics
“The Chiropractic Call from Chicago to Atlanta”
Sean Finnegan, B.S., D.C., CCSP® is not only an alumnus of Life University (Life U), but he’s also the Director of Clinics and Associate Professor at the Life University Center for Health and Optimum Performance (C-HOP). A 2002 graduate of Life U, Dr. Finnegan began his student career here in 1998.
“It was just after the Olympics in 1996, so there was a major sporting buzz about Life U. We had Olympic athletes training on campus; we had the Atlanta Hawks being treated here. Dr. Sid [E. Williams] was president. I mean, it was an impressive place, and me as a student walking around, ‘I’m coming here,’” said Dr. Finnegan.
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Finnegan did not have ambitions to become a chiropractor or for ever leaving Chicago. Instead, he dreamed of becoming a firefighter and spending his life in Chicago surrounded by his friends and family. It wasn’t until a chance conversation during a summer course with a friend that things began to change. He and his friend were talking about where they each worked while they were going to college. At the time, Finnegan worked for UPS, loading boxes on trucks and his friend told him about her part-time job with a local chiropractor and that she loved the work.
Dr. Finnegan was intrigued by what his friend shared with him, and he reached out to the chiropractor who suggested that Dr. Finnegan come work for him and give up his UPS gig, which Finnegan did. After a few adjustments with this chiropractor, he became more interested in changing his career path and attending a chiropractic school instead of studying fire science. The chiropractor he worked for told him that he needed to check out Life University in Marietta, Georgia. Dr. Finnegan took the trip with his mom, who shared with him on that trip that she too once considered becoming a chiropractor.
This was not his first introduction to the chiropractic profession or receiving chiropractic adjustments. When Dr. Finnegan was in high school, he got injured a couple of times while on the wrestling team. Over the next few years, he saw a chiropractor who helped him with his injuries. Dr. Finnegan never thought that this would one day be his chosen profession.
After graduation, Dr. Finnegan returned to Chicago where he set up his practice and worked for fifteen years. He and his wife experienced a defining moment one day when the power went out. It was a typical, cold Chicago winter day minus 40 degrees, and while Dr. Finnegan was working at his practice, his wife called him to tell him that the power in their house had gone out. She was at home in the cold with their baby and the dog. Dr. Finnegan closed his practice, picked up his family and they went to their parent’s house where there was still power. As they sat in the warm house, they talked about how Dr. Finnegan could practice anywhere, “and that got the ball rolling,” said Dr. Finnegan.
He had previously taken his wife to Life U and gave her a tour of the campus. While they were touring the campus, his wife asked him if he ever thought about teaching at Life U. Dr. Finnegan said that that had never entered his mind, and the only way he would even consider it would be if there were a position open in the clinic.
“If they have a clinic job, I want to work in the clinic. I love working with patients. I love figuring it out – the detective work and testing. I enjoy it!” exclaimed Dr. Finnegan.
A job did open in the clinic, and Dr. Finnegan took a chance at something new and applied for it. He has been with Life U for seven years and has been the Director of Clinics for the past seven months.
“I have a great team that I work with, and I still get to engage with the students. I still get to see them get their ‘aha moments’ when they give that first adjustment or watch them figure out a case, get excited and say something like ‘Oh my gosh! I finally got my first cervical adjustment! I adjusted my first baby! I love this!’” Dr. Finnegan explained.
Dr. Finnegan loves seeing the next group of leaders in the chiropractic profession and enjoys being involved in Life U through some of the student organizations, such as the Sports Chiropractic Club where he has given a couple of seminars. He loves to share his knowledge with the students so that they can better learn their chosen profession.
Dr. Finnegan is also certified as a sports physician and enjoys the rehabilitation aspect of adjusting to reset the mechanics and re-establish motion. He loves to see patients’ reactions to the adjustment and how the body does better from that adjustment. He likes what he refers to as “weekend warriors.”
“Those are the ones I like taking care of the most because they’re regular people, and they have a passion for maybe marathons or 5Ks, or obstacle course racing. That’s most people’s time away. Now they get injured, and they can’t do it (their chosen sport) and they go into this cycle of depression, and things aren’t functioning well. It’s interesting to watch them spiral down, and then whey they come into the office and you’re assessing them, I’m saying, ‘I’m going to get you back to doing that’ and then you watch them spiral right back up and see their demeanor change. I’ve had patients attempt to give me their medals [that they won from races],” said Dr. Finnegan.
According to Dr. Finnegan, Life U offers such a great sense of community, and people want to help each other. He acutely experienced this a month into his new position as the Director of Clinics when a storm hit 1415 Barclay Circle, causing major damage to the roof.
“I am very thankful for the amount of departments that were on it that day. They just swarmed the clinic, and I’m telling you, people were on it,” Finnegan shared. “They all came together, and anything we needed help with, from facilities to grounds to IT, oh everybody jumped on board to help us out. I am thankful that we are in the next phase (rebuilding 1415 Barclay Circle). It’s being renovated, and we will move back in before too long. We are going to have our beautiful clinic back with some upgrades, and I’m looking forward to it. I am thankful that no one was hurt!”
C-HOP is hoping to return to 1415 Barclay Circle in June 2023.
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