Tampa Bay Storm offensive coordinator Pat O’Hara, second from left, stands with Dr. Susan Welsh, the team’s chiropractor. Before coming
to the Storm, O’Hara also played for the University of Southern California and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
STATS: Team chiropractor for the National Hockey
League’s Tampa Bay Lightning (1986-1995) and the
Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm (1995-present)
How long have you been a sports chiropractor? For 27 years.
I started as a sports trainer for the rugby team while a student
at Palmer. We were known as trainers because we were still
training to become chiropractors.
How is caring for athletes different than caring for traditional
patients? When athletes get hurt during a game, you have
to make the immediate decision as to whether they can continue
to play or sit out the rest of the game. You don’t have to
worry about that in an office where tests are done one day and
you have the luxury of dealing with a less serious injury the
Why is it important for chiropractors to be available during
games? For one thing, you can see how an injury happens. You
also get to know these people over time and their proclivity for
injury. And you know how they normally get treated, which helps
you proceed better with their care.
What do you like about being a team chiropractor? The team
spirit. You get to revel in all of the victories! These people are
great folks and they want to get well. They’re also very motivated
and tend to do everything you tell them to do.
What knowledge have you gained from being a sports
chiropractor? I’ve learned how much it means to everybody
to be part of a team. That’s something you can’t replace. As a
sports chiropractor, you’re on the field and part of the action.
Then there’s the mystique of being with the team.
Do you have any advice for others wanting to be sports
chiropractors? I earned my Certified Chiropractic Sports
Physician certification and the sports physicians diplomate
(DACBSP). It’s important to get that additional training in
Providing a good defense against a few avid reporters:
One of Dr. Welsh’s more memorable experiences occurred in
a locker room during a 2003 nationally televised game where
the Storm’s quarterback was injured. “As I was trying to evaluate
the situation, one reporter came through one door and
another reporter came through the door on the other side of
the room, and we hadn’t even decided how to care for the
patient yet,” said Dr. Welsh. She sent both reporters out of
the room. “I wasn’t very ladylike.”