20 Seasons of Being a Hockey Team Chiropractor

In 2004, I became the team chiropractor for the United Hockey League (UHL) Rockford IceHogs. I was only two years out of Chiropractic school. I am a subluxated-based chiropractor and had a very straight practice. I am not the chiropractor you want to see if you want an ankle taped but I can find and adjust subluxations with the best of them. I thought I would struggle being the team chiropractic because of being subluxation-based. I had one advantage though, the Chiropractor before me was a subluxated-based chiropractor also.

My first goal was to get full spine films of all the players. The athletic trainer and owners were confused about why I would need this for young athletes. The only way to get it was for me to do it free of charge for the team. I knew the only way for me to be the chiropractor I wanted to be was to have those films. The way I sold it at the end was to explain having baseline films we would be able to clear guys better post-injury. The other selling point was at the end of the year if a player sued due to back injuries, I had evidence to show the prior state of their spines (not being perfect).

I put a regular Hilo adjusting table like I have in my clinic into the locker room. On the wall, I printed off all my listings. I was able to speak to the whole team before the season started. Here I was able to explain why if you were adjusted before playing, there was increased performance and decreased injury risk. Before I knew it, I was adjusting a majority of the team before every game.

After three seasons, our UHL league was no longer, and the team became part of the American Hockley League (AHL). Now we were dealing with higher-level hockey players. The athletic trainer stayed on with the team and continued to accept that preseason films are a normal thing.

For those who do not know the AHL is directly below the NHL. Our players could be in Rockford one night and then in Chicago the next night. By providing subluxation-based care at the AHL level and players enjoying the effects, they were very upset when the NHL club had no Chiropractor. I loved it when our players would drive down to see me and bring some of the all-stars from Chicago along for chiropractic care. Within no time the Chicago team management learned they would have to have a chiropractor also. I was very proud to have been an influence in making sure Chiropractic was now included on every level of the Chicago organization.

The other exciting thing I get to do as team hockey chiropractor is introduce Chiropractic to players from foreign countries. Many have never seen a chiropractor. I have adjusted many Russian players who have never heard of or seen an adjustment. It is awesome to be an ambassador for the whole profession.

I learned that it is actually very easy to be a subluxation-based chiropractor in professional sports. No other healthcare provider can adjust other than a chiropractor. The medical doctor handles rashes, cleaning, and suturing cuts, and addresses serious injuries for which medical attention is needed while I provide the chiropractic adjustment to a team of highly talented hockey players who have become enthusiastic about regular chiropractic care.