LINDSEY MIGLIORE: THE GAMER DOC GOT GAME


An amazing enhancement to the NWHL fan experience this season has been the partnership with the streamimg services of Twitch. The broadcasts of NWHL games drew over seven million viewers,large numbers of whom were active in live chats during the games. But game day broadcasts are not the only time to get great NWHL content on Twitch. Beginning this season,”Open Ice” with the Gamer Doc,  burst onto the scene as well, at 7:00 Monday’s on TWITCH.TV.NWHL. The Gamer Doc is the pseudonym of Dr. Lindsey Migliore, a physiatrist in Washington DC. And besides being a medical doctor, she is also a veteran gamer. But when we caught up with the good doctor to chat, we found out something else: the Gamer Doc got game! So it turns out that our Gamer Doc Lindsey, besides being a full time doctor in Washington, DC, and the star of a couple of programs on Twitch, and a noted gamer, is long time athlete herself. And, so is her fiancé (they will be married in June) the former #2 of the Riveters, defender Amber Moore. So how did this life of sport get started?

Lindsay hails from Allen Park, Michigan near Detroit. That’s a pretty good area for hockey, but that’s not where we first uncovered the roots of Lindsey’s athleticism. In fact she told us “ When I was a kid I wanted to play football. My town had a pee-wee football team and I wanted to be on that team. Instead of signing me up for football, my parents signed me up for cheerleading and bought me a Furby,as a bribe. Then I wanted to play ice hockey, but they signed me up for figure skating:)” So although she didn’t get the opportunity early to play a contact sport, she developed into a multi-sport athlete in high school, running cross country, playing basketball for her high school, and competing in track & field. Having found an excellent performance of her’s in the long jump at a big metro area meet, we asked  Lindsey to fill us in. She replied:

“I had gotten into track and field because at the end of the day, basketball is my sport! Basketball was a sport I wanted to be involved in, I wanted to excel at, and I was doing long-distance running, cross country running, for fitness at the time. And I remember I was in my backyard playing basketball with my sisters boyfriend at the time, Dan. And he said if you want to play college basketball you’ve got to run sprints. You’ve got to do sprint events because it’s different (fast twitch, ironically) muscles. And he and I decided that the long jump would be a good event for me. Also because it would work on my explosiveness in my jumping. I went to my coach the next day and said: I’m going to do spring events from now on. I know I’ve been running the mile and 2 mile, but now I want to run the 100 and 200 and long jump. He wasn’t very happy about that, but I did switch over and I was pretty good at the long jump. The day you were talking about was at a big meet, the News Herald Championship. I had my IPod on, I think around the head earphones were popular at that time, the ones that go behind your neck. And I was listening to Rammstein’s Du Hast.Classic, classic for athletics. I remember seeing my jump length and being very happy (her jump still ranks on the Top Performance list for the event.at APHS.So Du Hast, whenever I need to perform, just blare that. I still play it now before going into all my patient’s rooms! Totally kidding :) "

Lindsey’s athletic career did end up continuing in college, but not in the way she would have originally imagined. Her family had invested the Michigan Education Trust. MET is a 529 Prepaid Tuition Plan which allows for the pre-purchase of tuition based on today's rates and then paid out at the future cost when the beneficiary is in college. But before she committed to an instate school, she went on a trip to Boston with her Dad to visit relatives. And they took the opportunity to visit Wellesley College, and that’s all it took. She explained the gamer epiphany during her visit, saying,

 “They told me: We accept you, the nerdier the better They were talking about dungeons and dragons on my tour! they were talking about how they had gaming clubs, and clubs for all things that I had always wanted to get into but was really afraid to, because of being judged! For 17-year-old girl from the Midwest, it was just the feeling that I got from the community. The feeling that I got from being on that campus. I just walked away and I said: Dad, I want to come here! So my parents were wonderful and they supported me but they were not happy about having to pay for college and not just having it already paid for! I was fortunate to have them just offer that. That’s why I went to Wellesley”.

So how did the basketball part evolve, we wondered? 

 “My height, my height! I shot up in middle school, I was the tallest one on my team in middle school and then I stopped growing. It was terrible. And in my senior year of high school I had knee surgery. I didn’t play so, I didn’t think about college basketball anymore at all. Especially going to a D3 college, it wasn’t on my mind. Then I saw an ad for basketball team tryouts. Wellesley had maybe two open spots that they hadn’t recruited, so they were looking for players who wanted to try out. So I just kind of showed up to the team and met the girls. It had been a year really, since I had played so they was definitely was a little bit of an adjustment. But they asked me if I wanted to play. So I was a solid sixth man, rode the pines the first and second gear when I got there. In my first year, the junior class was phenomenal. They had these three girls who were all 6 feet tall and worked extremely well together. So it was really fun, and they became my best friends. So first year and second year I played. I didn’t get a lot of minutes but had a great time at practice met a lot of people and had amazing experiences. But after they graduated, I said I don’t know if I want to be practicing 40 hours a week anymore in college, so I called my college basketball career quits at that point” Lindsey is modest in assessing her hoops contribution, and could shoot from three point range as well as rebound very well from the guard position.

So Lindsey’s basketball career ended, but her athletic career merely went down another road. And this one led to her childhood wish of playing that contact sport she mentioned earlier. She became a rugger.. She may have been a “big” on the basketball court in middle school, but not on the rugby pitch. Here’s how she explained it: .

“Yep, that’s a good assessment. Rugby was something I picked up after basketball in college. Ice hockey is probably going to be the best sports experience in my life but I think rugby has to be the second best sports experience of my life. I got recruited to the team after I left the basketball team.They were looking for people just like me, who had left varsity sports and wanted to do a more serious club sport. So I showed up the first day. I had always wanted to play a contact sport. I love that physicality, I love that aspect of the game. I am smaller, so I work on the mechanics, so it doesn’t matter how small I am. So I jumped at the chance to play rugby, and immediately, fell in love with the game. I wound up in my senior year I playing kind of the quarterback position, the fly half. And, serving in one of the team”s leadership roles “

She continued "And then after college I was going to go immediately to medical school (New York College of Osteopathic Medicine) I had already been accepted into medical school. And then this women’s Premier League rugby team approached me. Basically it was the highest level in the US that you could play. I played for the Beantown club in Boston, New York was our biggest rival. So they approached me and said they’d love to have me come and try out, So I called up the Dean of my medical school that I had just been accepted to, and I said: Hey, can you give me a year? Just give me one year, and I promise I’ll come to medical school next year, but give me one year to stay in Boston and play rugby. And they said yes. So I spent that year playing rugby in Boston and it was fantastic. I had to work my way up to be on the Premier League line, but by halfway through the season I was on that line. And now I was the winger, because you noted, I don’t have the physique of a rugby player. So I was the wide receiver, all the way out. And every single one who was passing it to me was an Olympic consideration. The fly half was one, the inside half, the outside half, they were all Olympic considerations.”

“So by the time I got the ball, like there was no one around me, because they had beaten every single player onn the field. Sso rugby was a wonderful experience. I got too many concussions though so my career came to an abrupt halt. We were in Las Vegas playing the German feeder team, and I saw a gap that I thought was going to be a gap but it wasn’t. I got spear tackled by this 6’3” woman and I don’t remember that whole week of my life So that was the final straw. I said I have to go to medical school soon, so I never really played rugby since then. But it a wild three years, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. I could run fast, that was my main contribution to that team. If you gave me space and the ball, I could make it, but don’t make me tackle anyone:)”

 After graduating med school, our Gamer Doc had an interesting summer, almost a vision quest, hiking along the Appalachian Trail. We were anxious to learn more about that adventure, and she obliged, telling us:

I did not through hike the Appalachian Trail. For most peopl, that takes 3 to 5 months to hike from Springfield Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin in Maine. But I only had like 2 1/2 months. So instead of spending my time on places that I didn’t necessarily want to spend my time on I section hiked. Not the roller coasters of Tennessee, or the areas that hikers tend to talk about with horror in their minds. I section hiked, so I would hike a two week section then I would either hitch hike or have a plane and get to another part of the trail that I wanted to hike. So I got to do the best parts, but I still do envision going back and doing the bits that I didn’t do, so I can say that I’ve done the whole trail

Two weeks of backpacking is no small undertaking. Cetacean a Nation wondered if Lindsey had any previous experience?

"No! Surprisingly no. I had never been on a backpacking trip before, and I have never done any really extended hiking. My family wasn’t really a camping family. We never roughed it, that was not the vacations we would go on. We would go to the amusement park:). it was something that I really had on my mind for a while. There was also some, I wouldn’t say turmoil, but just some questions in my mind at the time, about my life and where I wanted to go. I knew I wanted to be alone, I didn’t want to be around a lot of people and I also knew that I had hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical school debt. So I had these couple of months. And all these classmates whose parents were physicians or parents who were wealthy, were going to Italy or going to Thailand for months. And I was like I have $400 so what can I do with $400 p? So I was just like: Wow! Buy a bunch of peanut butter and jelly and hike! So that was kind of what led to my reasoning for going on that trip."

We also asked about how her footwear worked out on such a strenuous outing. She gave this humorous reply: saying:

“That’s a very good question. I was happy with the hiking shoes I had, but like I said I didn’t have any backpacking experience. So I started off with a 60 pound pack and I had really good shoes on, but because I had way too much weight on my back my feet were starting to kill me. One of the places where the shoelace ties, decided to dig into the tendon on my ankle. So about two weeks in I I stopped off and hitchhiked to an REI and I gave them my shoes that I’d been wearing for two weeks. I hadn’t showered and I said: I just can’t use these anymore! And, you got love REI, they said here you go, here’s a full refund.What other shoes do you want? So I switched shoes to ones that didn’t have that scenario with my tendon and I’ve had them ever since. So I am very happy with my Merrill’s now. “ Lindsey added “It definitely was a journey, and the trail taught me it’s more that you’re there for the experience, as opposed to putting away the miles.” So we can add extreme hiking to the list of sports that make up the Gamer Dic’s game, but we’ve hardly mentioned her most relevant one, hockey.

 Lindsey plays both ice hockey and ball hockey, and she told us a little about that too.

 “It’s weird, ball hockey is different. You can’t glide. It’s a lot of work. I mean I know that nobody in the NWHL glides but on my rec team I do a lot of gliding:) Ball Hockey is definitely moving all the time. It’s funny because I wasn’t really familiar with the college hockey scene before getting involved with the NWHL. And my understanding of Division I, Division II, and Division III Athletics was from basketball. I knew my skill level, and knew that I walked on to a D3 team and I played D3 basketball. And Amber was just talking about someone who was going to play on our tournament hockey team who had played D3. I said, well I played D3, and she said: No, you don’t understand! There aren’t that many womens programs, there’s only like 20 D1 women’s programs. So D3 hockey players are still excellent. If you played in college you’re excellent at hockey. So that was a really funny difference that I learned!”

 Lindsey added “My ball hockey career started around three years ago. It started after Amber and I got together. And a good portion of our early relationship, was me going and watching her play sports, which was a really weird transition for me because I was used to being the one who plays sports. But I’m watching her play ice hockey and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that with her. But I was watching her play ball hockey, and I’m thinking, I’m faster than some of these girls. I can learn how to hold a hockey stick. So I started playing ball hockey and playing in New York And ended up playing in the same league that Dani Rylan was playing in. So I had some interactions with her. But when I moved to DC I joined the DC Stanley Cupcakes. In the beginning I was on the B team because I didn’t know a lot about hockey yet. What I knew was from watching, not playing. But I finally made the A-Team which is something that I really, really worked for. Probably a lot more than a 28-year-old should worry about a rec team but that’s just how I do things. So I finally made the A-Team and we were playing in a tournament in the championship game. And we have never won this tournament in the history of the Stanley Cup Cakes."

She continued “We were playing in the championship game against a team that was basically a smattering of thevTeam USA national ball hockey team. it wasn’t a full team obviously but it was a lot of players from that team, and they were very good at ball hockey. But the thing about the Cupcakes, is we practiced every week, every Saturday. We practice so we have plays we have systems, and we know how to run things together. But this team, yes it was a lot of the women’s national team, but it also included a lot of the friends. And they really only played together about three times a year, going to tournaments. The score was 0-0 with about a minute left in the game, and I had the ball. I want to shoot it and I fumbled it, it was kind of behind me a little bit and I just took took it and shot it again, and went and hit the back of the net. We ended up winning one to nothing, and as a result it’s the first time we win the championship game. That tournament was the first real time I played on the A-Team and I ended up winning MVP of the whole tournament. That was one of my best ball hockey moments, but one tournament later though, I tore my plantar fascia and haven’t returned to ball hockey since. But it was a good time, end my plaque sits downstairs, it’s a nice black thing and it sits on top of the bar!”

Lindsey mentioned moving to DC and that is where she is practicing medicine so we asked our Gamer Doc about her field of medicine. She revealed:

“One of my issues with medicine that I have always had trouble with and one that I still have, is our focus on treatment rather than prevention. I think that physicians especially have a tendency, we don’t have a lot of time, we have 15 or 20 minutes per insurance to see a patient. They say what are your current problems and how can we help you fix them.And that tends to to be what people want. They want their current problems fixed. But what I have always been interested in is what problems will you get into down the road and how can we address them. These are your current issues but what can happen down the road because of these certain issues. Prevention has always been a huge personal love of mine, and with PM and R (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) what we basically are non-surgical sports medicine doctors. So we don’t operate, we only do injections and are experts in the body in the muscular skeletal system. The muscles, the tendons, the nerves add the bones and how those things result in pathology and how those things result in good physiology.”

She added “So someone comes in with knee pain and whether or not they’re 20 or they”re 70 there are certain things that someone can do. The first thing is lifestyle modification. You can do things like weight loss, you can do things like quadricep training, stretching, strengthening and you could also do surgery. But for me the surgery is not something that I do, so I try to exhaust all the other options first. Typically what we do is just to try and return people’s functioning back to normal in the least invasive way possible.A lot of my colleagues go on to become pain specialists or sports medicine doctors but but a few of us should stay in this field and do more of a muscular skeletal practice. It’s very exciting and it has some of the highest job satisfaction Of any specialty.The specialty was born after one of the world wars to treat soldiers returning from war with brain injuries and amputations. Some people still do that in the field. We treat A lot of patients who have amputations or traumatic brain injuries, and children who have neurological conditions. I teach a lot of people how to walk, whether they’re five or seventy-five, helping them regain that function regardless of what the original injury was.”

Cetacean Nation thinks medical professionals are everyday heroes, especially in times of crisis like this. We asked Lindsey if she had any favorite inspirational quote related to her career. She shared:

“One of the early founders of medicine in the United States said something like I never want to be a cat who walks so quietly that you don’t create a sound That’s not the verbatim quote, I’ll have to look it up, but I never want to walk through the world so quietly that I haven’t made an impact. I think there is a lot of good to do and we need a lot of strong well intentioned voices.Ad that is one of the basic tenets of how I operate. I have been given a lot of gifts in life, I’ve been lucky enough to be born in a developed country, to two parents who have given nothing but support and love to me. I’ve been lucky enough to have good health my whole life so I think that those are privileges that I have that I should use to help other people So, I’m trying to make some ripples.“ Mission axomplished, we’d say!

Given her unique perspective, we were interested in what Lindsey saw in the league and why the NWHL is so important.

 “I see another path to equality. I see the best players in the world playing their sport. I I also see a lot of advocacy. The NWHL is important for a lot of reasons. I have always been involved in gender equity research. Ever since high school I’ve been doing things to work towards making the world a more equal,place for everyone. In the fact what’s going on in the media right now with the soccer team and that kind of issue, has always been something I’ve been really, really passionate about. But the first thing is, the real reason, is that these women are excellent hockey players. Why would we not have a professional league for both men and women? I think that is why the NWHL is most important. I know some people will try to make it just an advocacy thing or an equality thing, but these are the best women in the world and watching them play hockey is extremely entertaining. And I want to watch them play hockey! That’s reason #1! And the fact that there still are barriers happening is the second reason why the league is important . The fact that people still wonder why we have a League, that people are still getting in the way of having a League, is the second reason to have the League. Having a women’s professional hockey league isn’t a question, it shouldn’t be a question, it should just be a reality. If you watch Fratty play, if you watch Packer play, this is what they are meant to be doing. This is what they were born for, this is what they've been working their whole lives for. This is what Dempsey has been grinding out her whole life for, And I think that if there is a barrier to the best athletes in the world playing their sport, then we have to break down that barrier and get them playing. That was kind of a roundabout answer, but questions like that are hard because there are so many good answers,and you start to think: I can’t express all of them.” 

And what are your specific observations on our Pod, we asked.

 “I think I expressed some of this on the show, but I’m am so impressed with the final weekend play of the Whale. I know it hasn’t been your best year, but I think that in light of all of that, the performance that everyone put on this weekend makes it even more impressive. My college basketball team went 4-16 my sophomore year, and I know how hard it is to lose, and I know how much harder it is to play in that next game when you have that kind of record behind you. The performance they put on Friday against the Beauts was one of the best games I’ve watched this season. I mean, the passing was just so precise! But what really struck me was the tenacity.. You could tell how much they wanted it. You could tell they didn’t care about what happened in the season and they didn’t care if they were the underdog, they were going to win that game. And then going into Sunday against the Pride, I mean 2-1 going into the third period, that is just incredibly amazing, that performance. The Prode is just a phenomenal, dominant team right now, so holding them to just two goals and then gertting that shot in past Lovisa was just outstanding. I have nothing but respect for the Whale, and they have a special,place in my heart. Also, I love Lando! She is just great! There are certain guests I off the air with and I’m just so hyped up I just have to send them an email right after. Like, OMG, you are the best! And Amber was very close with Lando (they were teammates on the Riveters Sezson One) so she was very excited about her being on the show as well. But I learned for myself how much of a class act she is and just how kind and genuine she is as a human. So gotta love the Whale, I can’t wait to see them again, and I wish there were more games now so we could see what that momentum from last weekend would look like moving forward.” Fins Up to all that!

We couldn’t let the Gamer Doc go without getting her input on a couple of our amazing NWHL partners, Dunkin’ Donuts and Chipwich. She enthusiastically offered:

Duncan recently got green tea macha lattes, and I’m all about that green tea life, so I am so pumped. And also I am vegetarian, and they’ve got the plant based patties now. So give me a green tea matcha latte and a plant based breakfast sandwich and I am a happy camper. And Chipwich, wow! So let me also just tell you, as I said I’m getting married in June.So I’ve been on a pretty restrictive diet, and that was the first processed sugar I have had since December and I think one of the reasons I accepted that challenge, besides it being a good cause, was so that I could eat that sugar. So can you just take the regular Chipwich and then sandwich it between two peanut butter Chipwiches? And then I”ll take that! The challenge Lindsey referred to of course was the Chipwich Challenge, and fortunately video exists of her all-in nWHL Dnparticipation, check it out: https://twitter.com/gamerdoc_/status/1238112606830936065?s=21

Lindsay concluded our chat by offering a few words to the fans “To the NWHL and the players, and the fans who tune in, this has been just such a really wonderful opportunity. And I’m just thankful to be the one who is in the thick of things. It’s just so entertaining, I love hearing people’s stories, the fans stories, I love everything about it, it has trusty been a wonderful experience and I want to thank everyone for the opportunity. We are going to be continuing Open Ice until April as of now, not necessarily during the off-season, but maybe next year. But I will definitely be back in October!” 

And so we think, will even more Whale and NWHL fans! We appreciate the amazing Dr. Lindsey Migliore,The Gamer Doc,  for taking the time and sharing these stories with us. So to the beat of Heartless, by Diplo (her pump up song before going on air) Cetacean Nation offers Lindsey thanks and big Fins Up!

Note: You can watch the Gamer Doc talking esports and much more, other show year round on Wednesday’s at 8:00 EST at Twitch.tv/gamerdoc.