This is a common question we receive, particularly this time of year and the answer is: 100-percent yes.
Studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care has been found to be beneficial in performance enhancement and injury prevention in all sports. However, it truly shines in caring for football players.
The demands of football are quite different than most sports, in that, while it requires athletic prowess from most positions on the field, it also requires that a large percentage of these players absorb physical contact on consecutive plays throughout the course of a game. Players routinely undergo applied forces measuring hundreds of pounds per second. Where there has been increased concern in recent years across football leagues of all levels and ages is the amount of head and neck trauma associated with these forces. While there have been improvements in helmets and equipment along with increased education efforts among coaches and players, these risks are obviously inherent to the sport, and the risk will never be fully removed. However, there are simple strategies to ensure high levels of performance and function, particularly in the head, neck and spine.
It is vital that a player not only engage an opposing player with proper tackling technique and proper positioning of the head and neck, but regular and routine neck and spine maintenance is a must.
Along with appropriate neck strengthening and flexibility protocols, regular chiropractic care will allow players of all ages to maintain spine joint integrity and normal spinal motion during such rigorous play, which will promote proper spinal positioning, structure and function. One needs to not look further than the NFL to see that chiropractic is an important piece of a player’s regular health and performance regimen.
Current statistics indicate that 32 NFL teams have a team chiropractor. According to The Journal of Chiropractic Economics, during the regular NFL season, which lasts approximately 120 days, each player will receive an average of 30 to 50 chiropractic treatments each week. It is estimated that NFL chiropractors will give 16,000 to 27,000 per season, not including mini-camps and pre-season for routine maintenance, treatment of injury and injury prevention.
There is obviously high value placed on providing chiropractic care to the best in the world. I believe it becomes increasingly important to the amateur player whose bodies are still undergoing development changes in structure and nervous system function. Maintaining optimum structure and integrity of the spine is of utmost importance, no matter what level the player may participate, because player development, health and safety is the No. 1 priority.
Dr. Justin Ashlock