Majoring In the Minors: How Chiropractic In Minor League Baseball Is Changing the Game

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

– Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th Century German philosopher

This marvelous quote encapsulates the growth of chiropractic in general and its role in Sports Medicine, specifically. Although the value of chiropractic has been known for over 100 years, it has only recently been embraced as an integral part of the medical care for professional athletes.

Over the last twenty years, the expansion of chiropractic in professional baseball training rooms has steadily grown. Chiropractors are now active medical staff on 28 of the 30 Major League teams. This growth has been strengthened by the formation of the Professional Baseball Chiropractic Society (PBCS).

The PBCS was created in 2008 and truly began to gain traction in 2012 when Dr. Rick Bishop and Dr. Alan Palmer took over the reins. Dr. Palmer and Mark Letendre, long-time head athletic trainer for the San Francisco Giants, had a vision of integrating chiropractic into professional sports. The goal was to help create a standard by which chiropractors could create relationships with professional athletes, trainers, and medical staff. With the formation of a guideline for chiropractors to follow, a more consistent level of service could be provided to Major League Baseball.

This marvelous quote encapsulates the growth of chiropractic in general and its role in Sports Medicine, specifically. Although the value of chiropractic has been known for over 100 years, it has only recently been embraced as an integral part of the medical care for professional athletes.

Over the last twenty years, the expansion of chiropractic in professional baseball training rooms has steadily grown. Chiropractors are now active medical staff on 28 of the 30 Major League teams. This growth has been strengthened by the formation of the Professional Baseball Chiropractic Society (PBCS).

The PBCS was created in 2008 and truly began to gain traction in 2012 when Dr. Rick Bishop and Dr. Alan Palmer took over the reins. Dr. Palmer and Mark Letendre, long-time head athletic trainer for the San Francisco Giants, had a vision of integrating chiropractic into professional sports. The goal was to help create a standard by which chiropractors could create relationships with professional athletes, trainers, and medical staff. With the formation of a guideline for chiropractors to follow, a more consistent level of service could be provided to Major League Baseball.

PBCS Director Dr. Bishop explains the goal of the organization. “We have a great vision for the incorporation of chiropractic care within every team in professional baseball.” The current minor league classification system divides leagues into one of six classes, those being Triple-A (AAA), Double-A (AA), Class A-Advanced (High A or A+), Class A (Low A), Class A Short Season, and Rookie. During the process of confirming which teams in Minor League Baseball are using chiropractic, PBCS has been able to work with the athletic trainers of teams that previously did not have a chiropractor working alongside them. As a result, it has been successful in placing chiropractors with these teams and assisting the training staffs in this capacity.

I have personally had the opportunity to work as the chiropractic consultant for the Kansas City Royals during their Spring Training since 2005. When this opportunity became available, I reached out to one of my mentors from Logan University, Dr. Ralph Filson. At the time, Dr. Filson was the chiropractor for the St. Louis Cardinals. His advice was simple and to the point, “You must be a team player.” This fact was reinforced during my visit with the Royals regular season chiropractor, Dr. Patrick Hammond, as well as in a conversation with the current Royals General Manager. They both alluded to the unfortunate experience with their previous chiropractor in Arizona who over-stepped his role in the training room and alienated himself amongst the medical staff.

A willingness to serve is a consistent trait I have seen amongst my colleagues. We all understand our role within the training room. On the field, players know their roles on the team. Those who ignore these facts find themselves looking for work elsewhere. So it is in the athletic training room as well. As chiropractors, we are experts in spinal biomechanics and function. Although many of us are trained and utilize a wide variety of sports-related modalities in private practice, that is not our role as members of the medical team. As Dr. Haight counsels the chiropractors attempting to connect with Minor League affiliates, “Always be sure you stay in your lane.” Although possessing exceptional skills is essential regarding the treatment of professional athletes, it is the relationships with the staff and players that will make or break you. Respecting the expertise of your medical team and their skills enhances your reputation within the group.”

So what is the benefit of becoming involved in organizations such as the PBCS? According to Dr. Haight, “Professional organizations create validity.” As the PBCS has grown in numbers, so has its reputation in professional baseball. The PBCS organization has also created relationships with many of the head trainers, allowing for enhanced confidence when members approach a team. These trainers have also built a tight network and connect regularly to discuss potential team members. Having the PBCS name provides these trainers an extra level of confidence, knowing the doctor is part of a respected organization.

Until recently, members of PBCS consisted of only team chiropractors in professional baseball. With the expansion of sports related education seminars such as those through Logan University and Life University, PBCS will now offer membership opportunities for both students and chiropractors who are not affiliated with a professional baseball team. If you are looking to become part of a team of professional chiropractors involved with sports, we welcome you to join us in our mission to spread the chiropractic message throughout the sporting world.

For more info, click the link below:

http://news.meyerdc.com/chiropractors/3rd-annual-baseball-and-sports-performance-conference/


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