Keeping the TIC in Sports Chiropractic

Keeping the TIC in Sports Chiropractic

When it comes to providing chiropractic care for elite athletes, one of the most elite chiropractors in the world is Dr. John Downes, who wears a stack of hats in service to his profession and high performance athletes. He currently serves Life University as the Executive Director of International Affairs and the Life University Sport Science Institute and, over the years has served wearing hats as varied as Dean of the Chiropractic College, Department Head of the Sports Chiropractic Department, and Department Head of Technique for Life University. Clearly, he’s an all-round high-performance chiropractor.

Within the “wide world of sports” (to borrow an old phrase from ABC Sports), the areas of Dr. Downes expertise range from sports, chiropractic care, documentation, risk management, ethics, and injury prevention & management.  His professional credentials and contributions feature a dynamic blend of private practice, team doctor coverage for multiple sports, in addition to his decades of service to chiropractic and sport education. He is also an active participant in the Professional Baseball Chiropractic Society.

According to his bio on the World Federation of Chiropractic website, “Since graduating from Life College in 1986, Downes has blended clinical practice with education and research. He is a board member of the Council on Extremity Adjusting, United States Sports Chiropractic Federation, Executive Council for FICS and editorial advisory board for the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies and manuscript review committee for the Journal of Chiropractic Education.” In addition, when they want to maximize the results of their care, Downes serves as a consultant to other chiropractors who specialize in elite athletes.

How did Downes begin his successful journey to high performance athlete care? In part, it was “location, location, location” and being there at the right time: In 1994, as Life U and Atlanta prepared for the 1996 Olympics. Life U provided care to Olympians and staff from 1994 through the 96 Olympics. As a result of working with teams in 1996, Downes was tapped to provide care at the Pan Am games in 1998, as well as the National Games in Costa Rica and Guatemala, the Central and Caribbean Games in Maracaibo, Venezuela and Cartagena, Columbia, the 2000 World Games in Sydney, the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2012 London Olympic as well as the 2012 IAAF World Games.

When asked about the main differences between providing care for elite athletes, as opposed providing family and wellness care, Downes indicated that, again, it may be location, location, location, saying: “The working conditions can vary from onsite, to live competition, to typical training facilities, to hotel rooms. Depending on the scenarios it can be to optimize performance, aid in recovery from training and competition, or injury recovery. The key is athletes are expecting immediate results with care and pain is often not a factor.”

Given the tendency of sports chiropractic to get a bit lumped in with sports medicine, we asked Downes how much of his work with athletes at the elite level is adjusting vs. other modalities. He said, “For me adjusting only and I utilize other professionals for their expertise if they are available.” Given his stellar reputation and the depth of his experience in high performance sports, it’s evident we’re fortunate indeed to have Dr. Downes as the forefront of elite sports practitioners among today’s chiropractic leadership.

 

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