Sid E. Williams Passes Away

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Sid E. Williams Passes Away

You Are the Authority

Dr. Sid E. Williams passed away on December 27 in Marietta, Georgia.  A larger than life figure, Dr. Sid is forever inextricably tied to Life University, the International Chiropractors Association and Dynamic Essentials. He perhaps is also one of the last of a generation of chiropractors who fought back against the medicalization of the profession for which he paid a heavy price.

Others will write his story and tell of his myriad accomplishments. Mine is a more personal memoriam that comes from a half lifetime of exposure to his message and his mission. The most significant that comes to mind deals with the fundamental challenge that chiropractors have always faced – even especially now.

I recall one of the most memorable experiences I had during a DE meeting in the mid 1990’s. It was one of the largest DE meetings I had ever attended, it was a Saturday evening and Dr. Sid was speaking when I walked into a standing room only crowd at the Galleria in Marietta. Every ballroom was open and taken up by the DE crowd.

I managed a standing spot next to Dr. Fred Barge in the back of the room. The rest of the two hours that ensued could not have been choreographed or scripted any better than it was. At one point Dr. Barge leaned over and whispered in my ear that he had “never heard him like this before.”  His talk that evening was about “Authority” and while I had heard versions of it before it was as if all the previous versions were practice for the delivery he made that evening.

I could never even begin to do his presentation justice by trying to repeat it, but I want you to imagine a room with a few thousand people in it, all mesmerized by a skilled orator at the peak of his professional career. Dr. Sid knew well of the lack of acceptance of chiropractic and subluxation by the broader culture and worst still - within chiropractic. Yet he had an antidote for this and it could be found in certainty.

Certainty about the devastating effects of vertebral subluxation on mankind. Certainty about the technological ability to determine whether or not someone was subluxated. And certainty that once the subluxation was reduced or corrected that the adjusted person was the better for it.

Dr. Sid went on to tie together the philosophy, science and art of chiropractic and admonished chiropractors that:

 “You Are the Authority”             

When it comes to vertebral subluxation, he asked, who is more of an authority than you?  

Dr. Sid recognized where much of the problem with uncertainty plaguing chiropractors came from and wrote about it:

“The primary factor is a lack of subluxation based research.  The chiropractic student studies the subluxation in analysis and technique classes and maybe even in philosophy classes.  In other classes, perhaps even in research, there may be an introduction to the various subluxation theories. 

To a large extent, the latter information is based on the results of medical or osteopathic research.  What subluxation research that has been done has for the most part been done by technique developers and is proprietary. 

There has been little effort to organize and categorize the body of knowledge that exists.  By the same token this information is really never tied together for the student in chiropractic college, either." 

Williams, SE: In: The Chiropractic Clinical Paradigm - A Research Challenge. 1991 Life College. Marietta, Georgia.      

Dr. Sid knew why so many chiropractors become lost and he had a common sense and relatively simple approach to getting back on track. First and foremost this meant becoming certain about vertebral subluxation – so certain that you become the authority on it.

This very simple message formed the basis of my professional development over the past 20 years.

Thank you Sid E. Williams.

Dynamic Essentials