Sport Injuries/Performance

Sports Injury Treatment & Sports Performance Training


All athletes from weekend warriors to professional athletes have at least one major thing in common. They all place additional stresses on their bodies beyond that what is normally experienced in daily life. The better each body is functioning, the better it is able to handle and respond to these additional stresses. Chiropractic treatment focusing on the neuromuscular skeletal system and in optimizing biomechanics, is ideal for all athletes in the prevention of and treatment of athletic injuries.

Many professional athletic and sports organizations recognize the value of chiropractic care in correcting and preventing injuries:

  • The Players Association of the National Football League has made chiropractic care an integral part of its sports medicine program.
  • The United States Olympic Committee and several other nations selected chiropractors as attending physicians at the Olympic Games.
  • Chiropractors have also been retained at many other sporting events including the Pan Am Games, Goodwill Games, National Sports Festivals, New York and Boston Marathon and Ironman Triathalon.

Elite Professional Athletes Who Utilize Chiropractic Care

Top professionals in every sport are under chiropractic care to increase health and performance.
The following are just a few sports stars under chiropractic care.

Professional Triathlete Lesley Paterson

Fresh off her win at the 2011 Ironman Mooseman in NewFound Lake, NH, Professional Triathlete Lesley Paterson of Team Trek/K-Swiss received a "tune-up" from Dr. Marc.

Lesley is the 2012 & 2011 XTERRA Triathlon World Champion! She is also the 2011 Scottish National 10-mile running champion and 1st place pro at both the 2011 XTERRA Triathlon Pacific Championships and OC International triathlon.

NFL Legend Jerry Rice

NFL Legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice on the benefits of chiropractic care

" I did a lot of things to stay in the game, but regular visits to my chiropractor were among the most important. "

Lance Armstrong

Seven Time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been receiving chiropractic care since January of 1999, helping him to keep his body together for the harsh demands of the Tour de France. After his last Tour de France victory, Lance said that he could not have won without his chiropractor's help .

Olympic Gold Medalist Dan O'Brien

Decathlon Gold Medallist " If it were not for Chiropractic, I would not have won the gold medal ."

"You obviously can't compete at your fullest if you're not in alignment. And your body can't heal if your back is not in alignment. It was the holistic idea that I liked about chiropractic and that is what track and field is about. Every track and field athlete that I have ever met has seen a chiropractor at one time or another. In track and field, it is absolutely essential. Chiropractic care is one of the things I think that no one has denied or refuted."

Emmitt Smith Credits Chiropractic for Rushing Record

"Playing in a football game is like being in 30-40 car accidents."

An article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram explains it all started after the 1994 season when Smith endured a lot of hamstring problems and he began to ask himself some tough questions. "Do I need to get more rest? Do I need to eat better? Do I need a little more training? How can I take care of my body better? Do I need to find a chiropractor? It was time for me to invest in me," Smith said. "I found a specialist that's really good in balancing out my body to make sure my hips are rotated right, and my body is functioning properly. I remember somebody telling me that what I put myself in during the games is like having a car wreck every Sunday. It's against the norm. You can find yourself in awkward positions. That stuff takes its toll. But if you take advantage of the health care, balance your body back out, put it back where it's supposed to be, you function better, and you recover faster."

Evander Holyfield

" I have to have an adjustment before I go into the ring . I do believe in chiropractic. I found that going to a chiropractor three times a week helps my performance. The majority of boxers go to get that edge."

The Boston Red Sox have made chiropractors a permanent part of their medical team.

PLAY BALL! Chiropractic Adjustments Keep Boston Red Sox Organization Physically Fit Throughout the Baseball Season. Click to read more.

Sarah Harding, Miss Fitness USA 2006 Speaks Out for Chiropractic

Sarah Harding credits chiropractic for allowing her to compete in gymnastics and literally "changing her life."
Click to read more.

Restoration and Regeneration:
The Role of Chiropractic in Sport

by Russ Ebbets, DC

In some circles the role of chiropractic care for treatment of athletic injuries is unclear. If chiropractors do taping what does the athletic trainer do? And if the chiropractor acts as the team physician what does the medical doctor do? In fact most athletic trainers and medical doctors don't have a good idea what the chiropractor can do which presents a real problem, especially if that person acts as the gatekeeper to the athletic event.

Restoration and regeneration are two European concepts of health care that athletic coaches have used for decades to speed recovery and enhance performance. Most American coaches, familiar with European training methods, use some form of restoration and regeneration in their long range training plan. Anything that can speed recovery will allow the athlete to train harder, more often and more safely, all combining to enhance performance over the course of time.

The fact that a coach may recognize the importance of restoration and regeneration is often lost in the administrative delegation of duties at an athletic event. Health care services are usually delegated to the medical doctor whose main concern is life support. In turn, care of acute, non-life-threatening injuries are delegated to the athletic trainer. For many the role of chiropractic or massage therapy is attention to the placebo effect. Restoration and regeneration is not in their dictionary of care, figuratively or literally.

Athletic Care Triage Model

There is a theory in communication science that states that the dominant social group creates the lexicon of the language. Feminists use this theory to argue that language is basically a male construct. The definition of medical care, its concepts and realities, is a medical construct. One need only whisper the world "subluxation" in professionally mixed company to prove the point. If it is not in Dorland's or Taber's Medical Dictionaries the concept does not exist.

Political correctness dictates a healthcare dictionary. To date there is no "health care" dictionary. The reality is that this would not serve the politics of the dominant group. So in the mean- time disciplines such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and others remain alternative and complimentary.

The Athletic Triage Model

In September 2001, I served as Medical Director (in reality health care director) for the Syracuse Festival of Races (SFOR), an international road race held annually at Syracuse University. My responsibilities included supervision of the emergency medical service (EMS), acute, non- life threatening care (the athletic trainer) and the restorative and regenerative services (chiropractic and massage). All practitioners had a job to do.. More importantly all practitioners had their own job to do.

The service utilization statistics for the event were most revealing. Fortunately the EMS personnel saw no one. The athletic trainer had 11 visits. The lone massage therapist saw 11 patients (which is misleading, in 2002 eight massage therapists had 62 visits) and the ten NY Chiropractic College interns saw 112 visits. The line formed at the chiropractor's tent.

Armed with these statistics, I was permitted by the chair (a medical doctor) of the Sport Sciences Committee of USA Track and Field to address the committee (predominantly MD's and athletic trainers) at the December 2001 National Convention. My report included statistical findings and the introduction of the new athletic triage model used with the restoration and regeneration branch. Restoration and regeneration as a health care concept for performance enhancement through accelerated recovery not only now had a name but a place in the total care picture of an athlete. (Figure 1)

What is Restoration and Regeneration?

At its most basic level restoration and regeneration is the normalization of the basal metabolic rate (BMR), the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and all the functions they entail (circulation, assimilation, rest and elimination). In competitive endeavors, where performance is prized over participation, there are competitive advantages to accelerating the recovery process. Many competitions require multiple rounds of competitions or performances over a short period of time. Virtually every Olympic sport requires this and it is also a reality during play-offs of most professional sports.

Accelerated recovery is critically important because it is fatigue or cumulative fatigue that is one of the major performance limiting factors. Ideal performance and a greater opportunity for success hinge on the athlete competing with a "full tank."

This is not a new concept. Most USATF Level l coaches utilize restoration and regeneration when they follow a "hard-easy" workout sequence in the weekly training plan. One day of hard work followed by an easy day to recover. As the sophistication of training theory evolves, particularly as used by the Europeans, time and effort are spent on activities that accelerate recovery (massage, chiropractic, diet, electro-therapy, hydrotherapy, etc.). I have a friend who was the Olympic Biathlon coach. He feels that Americans will never succeed in endurance based events using the present healthcare model of symptomatic care. It is his opinion that recovery efforts must be pursued aggressively and pro-actively and must be as closely scripted as other training components such as interval training or weight work.

The role of restoration and regeneration can be explained using Yokalev's model. (Figure 2). Yokalev's model is arguably the most widely used training theory model in the world. Basic metabolic rate (BMR) is represented by the x- axis. Time follows +x. Performance and fatigue make up the continuum of the y-axis. A training session, the intersection of x and y. (weight training, running, cycling, etc.) produces fatigue over time (-y). When a training session ends, recovery, over time, begins. If the training load is appropriate for the athlete's level of fitness a period of super-compensation or adaptation follows. In theory this is the desired improved performance. This pattern is repeated daily, weekly and monthly and if done judiciously, avoiding illness and injury, one could expect performance to improve as one's career progresses. (Figure 3).

Chiropractic and massage fit into this model as both disciplines help shift the recovery curve to the left, (the dotted line} decreasing the time necessary to return the body to its BMR. This is accelerated recovery. This is significant because this allows the athlete to, in theory, safely train harder and more often, accelerating the date of their potential, ultimate performance. Incidentally, this is the effect of the banned, performance-enhancing drug, an anabolic steroid, has on the body.

In truth this is a vast oversimplification of training theory. The actual practice becomes more complicated because of the multiple variables that need be factored into a yearly or semi-annual training cycle including competition dates, peaking plans and the planned and unplanned stressors of one's personal life. Great athletes only make it look easy.

Of particular note is that chiropractic can, when used prior to a competition, also enhance performance (increasing the super-compensation curve upwards on the y-axis). It has been known for decades that an adjusted articular joint enjoys an ease of movement and an increased range of motion and subsequent neuromuscular response. Studies by New York Chiropractic College's Joseph Miller, DC suggest that thoracic spine adjustments improve maximal oxygen consumption ability (max V02), the implications of which are staggering for an endurance athlete.

Unfortunately, as a profession chiropractors have done a less than stellar job getting the word out on this. Anecdotally or intuitively an athlete "knows" chiropractic care aids performance but with regards to the "why's" necessary to explain chiropractic's role to another health care provider the profession has fallen short. With the adaptation of the new triage model chiropractic now has a defined role, With a complementary service that can be defended with scientific fact. And this is, in part, why the line forms at the chiropractor's tent.