Sports Performance

Today you’ll find chiropractors at ringside, on the sidelines and in Olympic villages. Chiropractors tend to athletes that range in ability from high paid professional to amateur to “weekend warrior.”

Below are just a small example of the many stories and papers that have featured chiropractic care for the famous and not-so-famous athlete.

The use and role of sport chiropractors in the National Football League: A short report Stump JL, Redwood, DJ Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002;25:E2

There is significant chiropractic participation in US professional football. In a survey, 77% of NFL trainers reported referring a player to a chiropractor, with 45% of the NFL trainers reporting that they themselves had seen a chiropractor. It was discovered that thirty-one percent of NFL teams have a chiropractor officially on staff, and an additional 12% of teams refer players to chiropractors.

Detroit Lions Now Get Regularly Adjusted thanks to Farmington DC. ICA Review Fall/Winter 2002 P. 43

“Most of the members of the Detroit Lions receive regular chiropractic care from Dr. Sol Cogan and his HealthQuest Chiropractic offices. Dr. Cogan attends all home and away-from-home games and is also available at the team’s training facility three days a week.

“Dr. Cogan spends one or two hours adjusting players before each game and provides care for players during the games as well.

“Most of the players aren’t just getting treatment for specific symptoms,” said Dr. Cogan. “The players recognize that chiropractic adjustments greatly increase their performance.”

Peak performers. Well-adjusted UT volunteers capture NCAA track and field championships. by James Panter, Today’s Chiropractic September/October 2001 p. 52.

From the article:

“The Volunteers of the University of Tennessee, who edged Texas Christian University 50-49 to win the men’s NCAA title, performed at their peak by supplementing their talent and determination with specific care from team chiropractor Dr. Michael Petty.”

“I do an analysis of each athlete, from head to toe, to determine what needs to be adjusted,” says Dr. Petty.

Freshman decathlete Blake Sabo sought care from Petty prior to this year’s SE-Ray Relays and discovered chiropractic’s performance enhancement benefits.

“He had never been adjusted before this year, and he actually had six personal bests out of 10 events at the meet.”

"Cowboys' Smith still runs ahead of time" "Body maintenance key to longevity for backfield star." October 16, 1998 USA Today

From the article about Emmitt Smith.

Smith will head to his chiropractor. Smith himself commented, "I started doing this on a regular basis about four or five years ago. I believe what I am doing is helping me go on. I think Warren Moon does the same thing. So I've become a big, big believer in servicing my body and making sure it is lined up properly and functioning the way it should be on Sundays.”

Considering the Alternative. The San Francisco Chronicle October 1998

More and more professional athletes are embracing alternative health practices, forcing teams to acknowledge the effectiveness of everything from shark cartilage to chiropractic care.

Though more teams are acknowledging the effectiveness of acupuncture and chiropractic care, even these practices are considered too unusual by some teams. The Chicago Bulls, for example, do not have a chiropractor on staff, so Scottie Pippen has to hire one on his own. In the NBA finals in June, Pippen received chiropractic care at least once during a game--only because he brought the chiropractor to the game.

"Chiropractors are flown in at the player's expense," said Dr. Malcolm Conway, a chiropractor in Pennsylvania who works with wide receivers Rocket Ismail and Qadry Ismail and other professional athletes. "Athletes like Pippen are willing to pay for chiropractic care because they need to recover quickly from injuries and they believe chiropractic treatment has a good rate of success." I agree!”

Chiropractic effects on athletic ability. Lauro A. Mouch B. Chiropractic: The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation. 1991; 6:84-87.

Fifty athletes involved in various activities including football, volleyball, track, cross-country running, weightlifting, body building, rugby and aerobic dancing were tested. They were divided into two groups.

One group received chiropractic adjustments, the other served as controls. Eleven tests were used to measure aspects of athletic ability including: agility, balance, kinesthetic perception, power, and reaction time. After 6 weeks, the control group and chiropractic group were examined.

The control group exhibited minor improvement in eight of the 11 tests (only two were statistically significant) while the chiropractic group improved significantly in all 11 tests (eight were statistically significant).

In a hand reaction test measuring the speed of reaction with the hand in response to a visual stimulus (reaction time), the control group exhibited less than a 1% response while the chiropractic group exhibited more than an 18% response after 6 weeks. After 12 weeks the chiropractic group exhibited more than 30% improvement in reaction time.

Long psychomotor reaction time in patients with chronic low-back pain. Taimela S. et. al. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 1993;74:1161-1164.

People with chronic low back pain have decreased reaction time.

Rehabilitation prescribed in coordination with prior chiropractic therapy as a treatment for sacroiliac subluxation in female distance runners. Grimston, S.K., Engsberg J.R., Shaw L, Vetane N.W. Chiropractic Sports Medicine, 1990;4: 2-9.

This is the story of a Canadian research team that included chiropractic care in the rehabilitation program of 16 injured female long distance runners. The runners recovered quickly and seven of them scored “personal best” performances under chiropractic care.

Effects of chiropractic care on athletic performance in baseball players. Schwartzbauer J, Kolber J, Schwartzbauer, DC, Hart, JDC, Zhang J. Paper Presented at the National Subluxation Conference, October 12-13, 1996 Phoenix, Arizona, Sponsored by Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic and later published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research Vol. 1 No. 4. 1997 under the title Athletic performance and physiological measures in baseball players following upper cervical chiropractic care: a pilot study.

From the Abstract:

The athletic performance of university baseball players was assessed before, during and after chiropractic care. Each athlete’s performance was evaluated by athletic abilities, such as the vertical jump, standing road jump, linear space (specified), broad jump (specified), muscle strength; and physiological tests such as electrocardiogram, blood pressure, pulse rate and treadmill stress testing. 28 players were recruited for the study. Twenty players completed the entire experiment with usable data.

All players were randomly divided into control and experimental groups. Every player was required to complete three sessions of athletic ability and physiological tests. The first test was administered before any chiropractic care was given. The second test was given after six weeks of chiropractic care. The third test was given after fourteen weeks of chiropractic care. Only the subjects in the experimental group received chiropractic adjustments to remove/reduce vertebral subluxation. The results showed a positive correlation between chiropractic adjustments and athletic performance.

Note: In addition to the above improvements, the chiropractic group showed significant improvement in capillary count at five and fourteen weeks of chiropractic care. Since healthy oxygenation of tissues is dependent up blood supply, this physiologic parameter may be the most important one of all.

Copyright 2004 Koren Publications, Inc. & Tedd Koren, D.C.