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Sports Chiropractic

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Sports chiropractic, also known as chiropractic sports sciences/medicine, is a specialty of chiropractic which, in Canada is a 2 year post-graduate residency program, whereupon one receives a designation of certified chiropractic sports specialist CCSS (Canada)[1] or at a minimum acceptance into a Masters Degree in Sports medicine program to be eligible for accredition.[2]

The American equivalent is the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP).[3], or the Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DABCSP), a three year, post-doctoral program.

Internationally, the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS) has established the International Chiropractic Sport Science Diploma (ICSSD) program in connection with Murdoch University[4], in Perth, Australia. It is FICS' prerequisite for a Doctor to be approved to participate in any International sporting event. Applicants can receive the degree through participation in a combination of online courses, seminars, and receive credit for post-doctoral education, like the national programs listed above, already attained.

Practice parameters

The focus of chiropractic sports specialists is to provide care in the conservative management, rehabilitation and performance optimization of neuromusculoskeletal system for athletic populations and to participate in a multi-disciplinary sports injury care environment.[citation needed] The book "Opportunities in Chiropractic Careers" states that sports chiropractors have made contributions to protective gear and trauma management in contact sports, athletic health maintenance, therapy, and enhanced rehabilitation after injury.[5] Spinal injury prevention has been identified as a role that sports chiropractors play.[6]

More and more States are allowing Chiropractors to perform School and employment physicals, a necessary requirement for participation. Besides physicians, in certain states nurse practitioners are allowed to do physicals.[7] Specifically with regard to chiropractors the study reported "...states that permit Chiropractors or Naturopathic practitioners) to provide medical clearance of high school athletes increased from 11 (22%) in 1997 to 18 (35%) in 2005."[7]

Use by amateur and professional sports teams

In 2002, 31% of National Football League teams used a chiropractor in an official capacity on their medical staff.[8] In 2006, a study analyzing Division I NCAA college athletes at inter-college sporting events in Hawaii found that chiropractic usage within the last 12 months was reported by 39% of respondents.[9]


Chiropractic sports medicine specialists first began treating Olympic athletes at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, in 1976, when Dr. Leroy Perry arranged a relationship with the Aruba team [10]. The first official appointment of a chiropractor to the US team began with the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Montreal [10], when Dr. George Goodheart's name was given to Irving Dardik,MD, then chairman of the USOC Sports Medicine Committee by Dr. Stephen J. Press.,[10][11] Subsequently a program was developed to screen Chiropractic Doctors at the USOTC in Colo. Spngs., CO. [10] And, at each subsequent games chiropractors were included with the US team, and other national teams as well. In the 2008 Games in Beijing, the US team sent four chiropractors,[12] and, in another US first, i.e., they appointed Dr. Mike Reed, DC medical director of the US team. As part of a demonstration project under the aegis of the IOC for the first time in Olympic history, chiropractic care will be fully integrated and in treating athletes in the polyclinic in 2010 at the Winter Olympics games in Vancouver. [13] [14]

Integration: advances and barriers

A number of barrier exists for chiropractors interested in sports care. Most sports organizations have an existing relationship with a local physician-based clinic or hospital. Physicians' interests in sports injuries predates chiropractors and the development of their recent sports chiropractic programs. Furthermore, university-based sports programs work with their own undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for student education and paid positions ranging from athletic trainer, physical therapist, physician assistants to physicians. The problem has been briefly evaluated[15].[16] and found that in rare instances chiropractors have found positions within major sports franchises or university programs. More likely, is the admittance of chiropractors at the high school level in rural america consistent with low physician ratios. To meet the needs of small athlete populations in rural communities, school administrators, coaches, and parents are often more accepting of non-traditional means of sports care.

Notable athletes receiving chiropractic care

International Associations

See template below, or:

National Sports Councils


  2. "Fellowship Program - Overview - CCSS(C) Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada)". Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  3. "Continuing Education - Certificate for a Chiropractic Sports Physician 2009 - CCSP Program". Parker College of Chiropractic. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  5. Bart N. Green, Claire Johnson, Louis Sportelli.; Green, B., Johnson, C., Sportelli, L. (2004). Opportunities in Chiropractic Careers. McGraw Hill. pp. 140. ISBN 007141164X. 
  6. Pelletier, JC. "Sports related concussion and spinal injuries: the need for changing spearing rules at the National Capital Amateur Football Association (NCAFA).". J Can Chiropr Assoc. 50 (3): 195–208.. ISSN 17549157. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Evolution in the process of screening United States high school student-athletes for cardiovascular disease.". American Journal of Cardiology 100(11):1709-12. (December): 1709–12. 1: Am J Cardiol. 2007 Dec 1;100(11):1709-12. Epub 2007 Oct 24.. ISSN 18036373 PMID: 18036373. 
  8. Stump, J; John L. Stump DC, OMD, EdD and Daniel Redwood DC (March 2002,). "The use and role of sport chiropractors in the National Football League: A short report". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 25: 1–4. doi:10.1067/mmt.2002.122326. 
  9. "Complementary and alternative medicine usage by intercollegiate athletes.". Clin J Sport Med. 16 (16(3)): 232–7. 2006. ISSN 16778544. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Press, DC, PhD, Stephen J. (2012) (in English). The History of Sports Chiropractic. USA: C.I.S. Commercial Fin. Grp, Ltd. pp. 495. }
  11. Proceedings of the United States Olympic Academy XI, "The Role of the Chiropractic Physician in the Sports Medical Team", June 17-20, 1987, Indianapolis, IN, Pgs 246-252
  12. "Gold members". International Academy of Olympic Chiropractic Officers. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  13. "FICS Newsletter". Federation Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport. March 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  14. "2010 Winter Olympics Games Business Plan and Games Budget". pp. 151. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  16. Theberge, N (2008 Jan;). ""The integration of chiropractors into healthcare teams: a case study from sport medicine."". Sociol Health Illn. 2008 Jan;30(1):19-34. 30 (1): 19–34.. ISSN 18254831 PMID: 18254831. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  17. Chiro Web Accessed on April 28, 2008
  18. Planet Accessed on April 28, 2008