Every Fall, millions of young athletes take to the field to play one of America’s favorite games, football. Football is a game that teaches grit, grind, and teamwork, but, due to the collision nature of the sport there is a high incidence of injury. These injuries can range from concussion to minor sprains and strains. Due to the high rate of injury it is paramount that each football team has access to a team of medical providers to help them navigate injuries during the season. Unfortunately only about 42% of the teams across the country have access to athletic training services, so the responsibility of triaging and managing injuries falls on the coaches and parents. This provides a unique opportunity for a sports chiropractor, because they are uniquely trained to manage most all injuries that could occur on a football field.
So what are the most common injuries?
Based on data collected from the NCAA there are 8.1 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures. Basically an exposure is either a practice or a game so if there are 100 players on a team over the course of 10 practices or games you could expect about 8 injuries.
- Ligament sprains are the most common type of injury with the knee and the ankle leading the way
- 50% of the injuries are to the lower limb
- Concussions make up for 7.4% of injuries (NCAA data from 2004-2009)
- Pre-Season has the highest rate of injury
How does a Sports Chiropractor fit into the team?
Sports chiropractors are uniquely trained in diagnosing and treating most all sports injuries that could occur on a football field. Additionally, sports chiropractors are well trained in chain of referral should an athlete require additional medical or orthopedic evaluation and treatment. Sports chiropractors will typically offer a wide variety of treatments that include:
- Spinal Adjustment
- Extremity Adjustment
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (Graston, FAKTR)
- Dry Needling
- Taping of all types (kinesiotaping, athletic taping, etc…)
- Rehab Exercises
- All types of physiotherapy modalities (Muscle stim, ultrasound, etc..)
These treatments and techniques aid the athlete in full recovery of their injury and return them to the field as quickly as possible. Lastly, an important function of a sports chiropractor can be on the sideline of games. During the game it is the coach’s responsibility to coach the game and he shouldn’t be tasked with identifying potential injuries. This creates for an unsafe situation that can leave athletes vulnerable to serious risk of injury. A sports chiropractor can serve the function of an athletic trainer or assist an athletic trainer on the sideline of football games. Triage of injuries and real time play or no-play decisions should be made by a trained medical provider and is in the best interest of the athlete and their safety.
What about Concussion?
A concussion can be a very scary and confusing injury. Proper management of these injuries is of supreme importance. A few states are lagging behind, but in most states a sports chiropractor can diagnose, treat, and make return to play decisions in the event of a concussion. Sports chiropractors have extensive training in the diagnosis and proper management of concussions and are perfectly positioned to apply necessary treatment and make return to play decisions in the event of a concussion. The American Board of Chiropractic Sports Physicians has provider concussion registry at acbsp.org.
In conclusion, sports chiropractors can provide an integral role before, during, and after a football season. Most injuries that occur are musculoskeletal in nature and there is no one better at managing these injuries than a sports chiro.
Pro Chiropractic has three certified sports chiropractors that work tirelessly with our local sports community to provide excellent care and service. To learn more about what a sports chiropractor does visit www.prochiromt.com or visit our YouTube channel to view many of the treatments mentioned in this article.