Football players can have a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. Many football injuries can be treated with chiropractic adjustments.
Types of Injuries
The high speed and impact nature of football leads to many sports injuries. Some of the sport trauma includes head injuries, back injuries, severe upper back pain, a stinger injury, and even paralysis, such as with the Eric LeGrand injury. In 2010, Eric LeGrand “collided with the ball carrier” and “suffered a severe spinal injury”. Having initial paralysis from the neck down, and unable to breathe on his own, LeGrand eventually became able to move his shoulders again and regained sensation throughout his body, although he was still unable to walk years later.1 Football players can also experience a “burner” or “stinger” injury. This problem occurs in the nerves that provide feelings to the hands and arms. These nerves originate in the neck (cervical) spinal cord and pass under the collar bone to the shoulder. Making a hard hit with the shoulder, such as in football, drives the shoulder down and makes the neck bend to the opposite side, stretching or compressing the nerves. The sensation that occurs as a result is like “an intense discharge of electricity” that shoots down the arm. Afterwards, the arm will have weakness, and there may be burning, tingling, or stinging. Pain may be temporary, but the weakness may endure for weeks or years, with rare situations of permanent damage. Immediate assessment and treatment are required, especially if damage to the spinal cord is involved.2 Other typical football injuries may be traumatic, such as concussions, knee and shoulder injuries, as well as overuse injuries (low back pain, tendinitis), and heat injuries. Some injuries can be prevented by warming up, cooling down, staying hydrated, having well-check examinations, staying fit and active during breaks, wearing proper equipment, following proper tackling procedures (not leading with the helmet), and letting the athletic trainer and medical professionals know about any medical and safety concerns.3
Football Injuries and Chiropractic Adjustments
Back injury treatment may be alleviated with chiropractic care. Chiropractors have treated professional athletes for many years. There is even a Professional Football Chiropractic Society (PFCS).4 In fact, “The average pro football chiropractor renders 30 to 50 treatments per week during the season”.5 One chiropractor, Dr. Alan Sokoloff, D.C., D.A.C.B.S.P. or “Dr. Sok”, noted that being a chiropractor for the NFL is “a very grueling job” that “requires ultimate focus…for the unexpected”.6 Most serious football injuries are a result of “axial compression of the cervical spine”. Players need to be educated on how spinal injuries are caused. It is crucial that players “keep their head up during contact”. Chiropractors can help athletes with neck strengthening, including flexibility exercises. They can provide education and adjustments.7
Learn more about head trauma.