This year's Oxford Debate, held June 13, could easily have been retitled "Oxford: The Musical." Teams from both sides included song parodies to argue their side of the debate's topic, which was whether or not evidence-driven manual therapy improves patient outcomes.
The "pro" team (which argued that evidence-driven manual therapy does not necessarily improve patient outcomes) comprised captain Tim Fearon, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS, and Terry Brown, PT, DPT, COMPT; on the "con" team were captain Tim Flynn, PT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT, Andrew Bennett, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT, and Gretchen Seif, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT.
While the moderator, Charles Ciccone, PT, PhD, FAPTA, declared the "pro" team the winners based on each member's presentation and audience response, it wasn't clear which, if any, side of the issue emerged on top content-wise. Perhaps opponents Dunn and Seif joining each other on stage in matching Wonder Woman outfits was indicative of a sense that there is room for both camps: tools such as clinical prediction rules, combined with the physical therapist's clinical judgment and reasoning, provide for better outcomes than either approach alone.
The playful atmosphere was, as a participant described it afterward, like watching a kid's cartoon salted with some adult references: not only was it a lot of fun, but if you understood the issue, you got the messages, too. Among the musicians parodied (complete with costumes) were Barbara Mandrell, Michael Jackson, Robin Thicke, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Led Zeppelin, with such memorable lines as "I was manual when manual wasn't cool," "My hands are gifted; I can get you lifted," "I wanna manipulate the best, the best that I can," and "With an app she can get the technique she came for."