Like so many others, my children are active in sports. After several seasons, both have graduated from the recreation level (American Youth Soccer Organization - AYSO) to "club soccer." They are two of an estimated 18 million soccer players in the U.S.They began in the AYSO, which has more than 50,000 teams. Once they were good enough (and tough enough), they were invited to join a club team. There are an estimated 8,200 soccer clubs in the U.S. Our club has 28 teams and plays year-round in leagues and tournaments. This is in addition to the recreational teams in the club.
As we have spent more time in the club, we have begun to recognize certain realities. One of those is that sooner or later, a child (yours or someone else's) will get injured. Fortunately, these injuries rarely require hospitalization. But they do require care off the field after the game. Sometimes those injuries keep a player off the field for weeks. This hurts the team and frustrates the coach.
We have noticed that, like most sports, a number of players have learned about the value of chiropractic care through those injuries. Sadly, there are those parents who look to over-the-counter medications as their first effort to ease pain. A new study underscores just how poor a choice this is, particularly for children. The study found an association between the use of acetaminophen and asthma, eczema and allergy symptoms in adolescents.1
A few months after my daughter, Deborah, moved to a club team, I was solicited to be the team manager. My son had been in the club for a while, so I guess the club thought I had the experience they were looking for. Having more than enough on my plate, I turned the opportunity down - several times. However, organized sports seem to be run by people who are very adept in the art of getting even the most resistant soul to volunteer. I eventually gave in.
It only took a few meetings with the other managers to recognize that the club lacks any association with a health care provider. This was clearly a great opportunity for chiropractic. A phone call to a friend who specializes in sports chiropractic has resulted in a proposal for team chiropractors for our club teams. This will provide care on the weekends during league season and at local tournaments that will make a big difference in the health and fitness of our players. If professional athletes enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care during their games, why can't our young athletes?
It will probably take four to six DCs to serve the club. This will cover the busiest fields (where two or three games might be taking place at the same time), as well as tournaments in which teams might play four or five games each in one weekend.
If you do the math, 18 million soccer players translates into 300 soccer players for every doctor of chiropractic in the U.S. On a club level alone, if it takes four DCs to serve one soccer club, we will need more than 32,000 doctors just to serve the clubs in this country.
Now consider that formula in terms of the number of football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams in America (and the number of players on each team). This doesn't even take into account the high school and college teams, let alone other sports.
While chiropractic is not just for athletes, most people don't know that. What they do know is that many sports superstars rely on chiropractic care to maintain their careers. This information is regularly in the news.
You may not be a specialist in sports chiropractic. But even if you aren't, you've probably seen your share of sports injuries. Perhaps your clinical experience doesn't make you the best choice for a professional sports team or even a high school team. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
If you just consider the world of soccer, there are millions of young athletes under the age of 10 who need your care. Take it from me, players are there to play. They will play injured if need be. Yes, it will cost you a few Saturdays. But if you team up with other DCs in your area, you can regulate your service time to one weekend a month or even just one Saturday a month.
Our club has approximately 350-400 players. Assuming the low end, that's 350 families in our area that will get to learn more about chiropractic firsthand from a DC who is donating their time to ensure the health and safety of children. Sounds like a great opportunity to me. What about you?
- Beasley RW, Clayton TO, Crane J, et al. Acetaminophen use and risk of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema in adolescents: ISAAC Phase 3. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1164/rccm.201005-0757OC.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.