Some want to help local athletes or support high school competitors. Others dream of helping Team USA win an Olympic gold medal. Still others want to support athletes at their alma mater.
Professional sports aside, chiropractors with an interest in sports medicine have a wide range of career options available to them.
Helping High School and College Athletes
High school sports are becoming increasingly aggressive, and with greater competitiveness comes a greater risk of injury. More than 30 million U.S. students participate in organized sports, and high school athletes endure 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year. Many chiropractors choose to focus their practice on treating local high school athletes.
College athletes, too, provide a ready patient base for chiropractors as research continues to prove the positive impact of chiropractic care on athletic performance. One study found that a type of chiropractic therapy known as osteopathic manipulative treatment “positively impacted sports performance in both offensive and defensive Virginia Tech football players,” says Dr. Edward Group, D.C. “Most football players also reported a self-assessed improvement in athletic performance” after their chiropractic sessions.
Providing Care at Competitive Events
Nine out of 10 world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and boost their performance, and chiropractors provide care for athletes at a wide variety of competitive events—from the Olympic games to major marathons.
Chiropractors have helped U.S. Olympic teams win more than 750 medals since 1980. Nearly 30 sports chiropractors served on the 2012 Summer Olympics medical team, which was led by a chiropractic doctor.
Other athletic events that involve chiropractors include:
- Pan Am Games
- CrossFit Games
- National Sports Festivals
- New York and Boston Marathons
- IRONMAN Triathlon
Treating Professional Sports Teams
Today’s professional sports teams are heavily invested in their players’ health, and most retain chiropractors on staff to help athletes perform at peak levels. This includes 100 percent of NFL teams, whose chiropractors stay busy—the average NFL chiropractor performs 30 to 50 treatments a week during football season.
Chiropractors have also found jobs with 90 percent of MLB teams and the majority of NBA and NHL teams. More than 70 percent of PGA golfers on tour receive chiropractic care as well. Professional athletes ranging from Tiger Woods to Jerry Rice affirm that regular chiropractic treatment helps them prevent injury and boost their performance.
“I find that after my treatments I have better flexibility and improved range of motion,” says NHL All-Star Joe Sakic. “I recover quicker from injuries. I have more ‘jump’ in my game and it improves my performance.”
With so many different opportunities available, skilled sports chiropractors can have their pick of jobs. Whether your passion lies with helping professional sports teams, elite competitors, local athletes or high school students, a degree in sports chiropractic can help you get there.