Traditionally, most competitive athletes were taken care of by medical physicians specializing in orthopedic care.
While these physicians are certainly experts in the anatomy and surgical repair of musculoskeletal injuries, many athletes were interested in care that emphasized the prevention of injury and optimization of performance.
Because of their foundational training in how structure relates to function, chiropractic physicians were a natural fit for this role.
In fact, the sub-specialty of sports chiropractic was brought to the forefront of professional sports in 1976, when Olympic athletes started working with chiropractors specializing in sports medicine care. Shortly after in 1980, the first official appointment of a sports chiropractor to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Division of Sports Medicine was made.
Since then, sports chiropractors have been a staple of the training regimens of Olympic athletes. They have also become part of the training programs for many other professional athletes.
As of 2015, every NFL team had a chiropractor offering care to players.
Most Major League Baseball teams also incorporate routine chiropractic care into their training regimens.
While all of these athletes still depend on traditional medical care in addition to the care of a sports chiropractor, many professional sports organizations now recognize the important contributions that an interdisciplinary training approach brings to elite athletes.
While the road to this harmonious union hasn’t always been smooth, the enhanced training and injury prevention that the addition of sports chiropractic care provides for these athletes has cemented its place in the world of professional sports.