Why do sports teams need a chiropractor?

Sports teams need a chiropractor on staff because sports chiropractors are best equipped to improve joint range of motion, maintain back function, and manage chronic pain.

My name is Dr. Benjamin Cowin, and I’ve been a sports medicine specialist for 20+ years. 

In 2002, 31% of NFL teams kept a chiropractor on staff or have chiropractors for regular referrals. 77% of trainers regularly referred their players to chiropractors. Today, every team in the NFL and MLB offer chiropractic services, whether on staff or via referrals.

A 2017 ruling by the US Congress made it even easier for chiropractors to travel to care for their sports teams by extending their insurance coverage to athletes even in different states.

Every year, the importance of a chiropractor for athletes becomes clearer — and these professionals are in high demand.

So, why are chiropractors so essential for your sports team?

Sports Chiropractic for Athletic Performance

Sports chiropractors are essential for athletic performance. Chiropractic care helps rehabilitate sports injuries and promotes injury prevention and pain relief.

What do sports chiropractors do? Sports chiropractors are qualified chiropractors who specialize in treating and preventing sports injuries as well as improving athletic performance.

Can a chiropractor do a sports physical? In Colorado, a chiropractor can perform a sports physical with proper certification. Whether a chiropractor can perform a sports physical varies state by state.

What is a CCSP chiropractor? CCSP stands for “certified chiropractic sports physician”. This certification gives chiropractors the necessary knowledge to treat and prevent sports injuries.

Sports Medicine Chiropractor vs. General Chiropractor

General chiropractors are different from sports medicine chiropractors. Here’s how:

  • General chiropractors work on your spine to treat neuromuscular disorders and improve general well being. General chiropractic treatment is often used for treatment of back pain and neck pain or after auto accidents.
  • Sports medicine chiropractors focus on treating musculoskeletal injuries and preventing future sports injuries. Sports chiropractors may also work to improve joint function and general athletic performance.

Chiropractic Services for Athletes

Are chiropractors good for athletes? Yes, chiropractors are good for athletes, both for rehab/treatment and injury prevention. The sports chiropractor’s role on a large sports medicine staff is usually focused on joint mobility and soft tissue function.

A sports chiropractor uses the following methods:

Professional Athletes & Teams

Over the course of a season, athletes go through rigorous training and physical performance. A healthcare team is necessary to maintain the health of your team. And a sports chiropractor is a necessary addition to any healthcare team.

In baseball, athletes play 162 games over the course of 6 months. They may play another 20 games for playoffs, then hopefully a World Series.

With all these games, keeping all the players on the field becomes a daunting task, employing various healthcare professionals and specialists.

Just like any sports team, each healthcare specialist has a specific task they focus on, in addition to understanding all the other specialists.

The care plan is 100% about returning the athlete to the field as quickly and safely as possible. 

Having been on sports medicine teams my entire career, I’ve developed a great appreciation for the integration and humility of the best sports medicine teams in the business.

As an athletic trainer, I spent the majority of my time on the front line, taping ankles, prepping ice bags, running out on the field when an athlete goes down, and triaging the situation when an athlete comes off the field.

When I transitioned to being a sports chiropractor, it was difficult to switch off that side of my brain. After all, I’d been doing it for 15 years!

As a sports chiropractor, I am able to focus more on the clinical side of things, while in the athletic training room. I have spent time looking at joint efficiency by itself, as opposed to looking at all sides of sports performance.

When you visit a true sports chiropractor, your treatment plan may be drastically different than during a visit to a general chiropractor. Our clinical focus includes influences from all other members of the sports medicine team.

As a result, your healthcare plan concerns your whole-person health, more than just your back or just your joints.

These are the main reasons why professional sports teams need a healthcare team with a sports chiropractor.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re talking about the NFL or a high school team, every sports team needs a sports chiropractor on staff. I find that it’s the healthiest team that tends to win the championship.

I am a doctor of chiropractic dedicated to treating and preventing sports-related injuries. For 20+ years, I have helped returning and new patients feel better and get back on the field safely and quickly.

At the Rio Olympic Games, I was the sole healthcare provider for both men and women’s rugby 7s referees. Some of my duties included:

  • Functional taping
  • Helping with warm-ups and cool-downs
  • Diagnosing with MSK ultrasound
  • Post-game massage
  • Any other work typically delegated to other members of a large sports medicine team

Here at Action Spine & Sports Medicine, we treat individual patients and groups of athletes. We employ pain-free chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, massage therapy, and preventative training.

Click here to make your appointment today or contact us about how to add a sports chiropractor to your sports team’s healthcare team.


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