MLB Medical Director addresses Professional Baseball Chiropractic Society seminar

Attendees of the 4th Annual PBCS Seminar and Workshop

The 4th annual PBCS Seminar and Workshop took place January 19 & 20, 2018. It was held at the beautiful spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers in Surprise, Arizona. This was the third consecutive year that the PBCS Seminar and Workshop was hosted at a Major League Baseball spring training facility. Thirty-four team chiropractors from Major League (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) were in attendance, representing 18 MLB organizations.

Ken Crenshaw, the longtime head athletic trainer for the Arizona Diamondbacks, was the recipient of the 2018 PBCS Visionary Award. The Visionary Award is given to a person who has exemplified and demonstrated a desire to advance the multi-discipline sports medicine model. Recipients recognize the distinct contribution of each component discipline, and realize that the best patient outcomes are achieved by the sum of those contributions.

Dr. Lou Bisogni, team chiropractor for the New York Yankees, was the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a person who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the chiropractic profession within sports medicine and has worked to create an environment ripe with opportunities for their colleagues.

Both of this year’s award recipients have served their professions well and are fully deserving of the honors they received.

The lineup of presenters this year was top notch. On day one, Dr. Craig Couillard, team chiropractor for the St. Paul Saints and president of the Minnesota Chiropractic Association, spoke on the assessment and treatment of sport hernias and how this relates to the baseball player. Douglas Scott, ATC and senior vice president of Multi Radiance Medical, presented on the scientific and practical applications of laser therapy for baseball players. Ken Crenshaw, head athletic trainer for the Arizona Diamondbacks, talked about the keys to a successful and effective multidiscipline practice approach. The day ended with Dr. Patrick Hammond, team chiropractor for the Kansas City Royals, discussing the different treatment protocols for different conditions and for maintaining a healthy ball club. This was followed by a breakout session focusing on various adjusting techniques.

Day two was another action-packed day that included a presentation by Dr. Casey Hummel, president of Fascial Distortion Model. Each attendee was introduced to a hands-on introduction/demonstration to the practice of the Fascial Distortion Model in relation to the baseball athlete. Kansas City Royals athletic trainers Kyle Turner and Sean Bardenett presented next. They spoke on the hip and spine of the athlete and how this relates specifically to the baseball player.

The keynote speaker of the weekend was Dr. Gary Green, who currently serves as Medical Director for Major League Baseball. He is also the league’s Research Director and Consultant on Anabolic Steroids and Performance-Enhancing Drugs. Dr. Green’s wife, Debbie, just happens to be a chiropractor too!

One of the topics Dr. Green discussed was Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) in baseball. This has been a hot topic in recent years, especially in regards to collision sports such as football and hockey. Baseball is also no stranger to MTBI, and it is an area of concern. Dr. Green discussed how rule changes were established to reduce the incidence of MTBI, especially at the catcher position. Since a rule was established in 2014 to eliminate collisions at home plate, the number of injuries and concussions has been dramatically reduced.

Concussion assessment in professional baseball is very strict. When a player is suspected of suffering from a concussion, an MLB Concussion Assessment Form must be signed by the Head ATC and Team Physician of the player’s club and submitted at the time of the injury. And in order for a player to be cleared to return to play, the player must meet the following requirements and be cleared by the MLB Medical Director:

  • Submit a Return To Play form.
  • Submit imPACT and any supporting data.
  • All symptoms have resolved.
  • Physically examined and cleared by the team physician.

The complete elimination of concussions in professional baseball is probably unrealistic, but MLB has taken major steps forward in preventing and treating them.

Probably the most talked-about controversy involving professional baseball in recent years is the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s). Dr. Green served as a member of the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport and chaired the NCAA Committee on Drug Testing and Drug Education for five years. To say that he’s an expert in the field would be an understatement. Dr. Green stated that MLB has made many changes to its drug programs. Some of these include:

  • Increased testing
  • Tougher penalties
  • Shift in player perspective. Simply put, MLB players are fed up with cheating and want a clean game.

With regards to supplements, contamination is still a problem. In a study of 64 nutritional supplements, 12.5% contained banned substances not declared on the label. This is where the NSF Certified for Sport Program comes into play. The program’s objective is to certify that participating sports supplement manufacturers have met NSF’s stringent independent certification process guidelines. In 2010, 50 products were NSF Certified. That number has risen to over 700 today. We are seeing a growing trend of awareness and education to eliminate PED’s from baseball and keep the game clean while maintaining its integrity.

The current state of chiropractic within professional baseball is growing. Currently 28 of the 30 teams in MLB utilize a chiropractic consultant. And we are seeing the affiliates in MiLB expand with utilization of chiropractic care too. As of December 2017, over 40 MiLB teams were utilizing a chiropractor and this number is climbing. The Professional Baseball Chiropractic Society (PBCS) has been working with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) to help place qualified chiropractors with teams in MiLB. We envision each team in professional baseball recognizing chiropractic as an official component of their Sports Medicine Team and we will continue to work diligently until this goal is reached.

If you have any questions or would like to become a member of the PBCS, please visit our website at or by email at: We offer memberships for both chiropractors and students, with many great benefits to go along with it!

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