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Dr. Dolan helps NYPD football players compete at their best

Dr. Dolan
Dr. Dolan in team uniform

Keeping the New York Police Department (NYPD) football team playing its best has been a passion for Victor Dolan, D.C., Davenport '83, Staten Island, N.Y., for the past five years. Dr. Dolan is the team chiropractor for the NYPD Finest. The relationship started when one of the team trainers invited him to a game. The team's quarterback had been his patient during his high school football career, and Dr. Dolan ended up treating a knee injury he received during the game.

"I understand there was some controversy at a team meeting later that week about the 'new guy' (me) on the sidelines treating their star quarterback," Dr. Dolan says. "But my place on the team was solidified when the trainer and player both spoke out vociferously in my favor, and in favor of having chiropractic available to the players. I believe I'm the first chiropractor officially accepted onto their staff.

"I work hand-in-hand with the M.D., P.T., A.T.C. and other trainers on the sidelines, but I'm a 'chiropractic missionary' and I do convey the chiropractic message as appropriate," he says. "I think sports are a great avenue to introduce or enhance awareness of chiropractic to the public."

The players and coaches love having a chiropractor on the sidelines, Dr. Dolan says. "Chiropractic is excellent for the type of neuromusculoskeletal trauma these athletes suffer, but the players feel it helps them to play better even when they have no complaint." When they do have complaints, it's typically neck and back problems, but also just about any joint or muscle injury.

Does he think working with the team makes him a better chiropractor? "I think working with any team in any sport at any level makes us better chiropractors," Dr. Dolan says. "You may be alone on the sidelines providing care, so you'd better know your emergency procedures, how to properly assess, when to return a player to play, when to sit them and when to call an ambulance."

Dr. Dolan at an NYPD Finest game.
Dr. Dolan working with athlete on sideline

He advises aspiring sports chiropractors to continue their education, whether it be as an EMT or continuing through sports certification and diplomate levels. Knowing how to triage and refer to another provider, or being able to help with taping, stretching or preparing an ice bag is also important, he says.

Even with all of those skills, Dr. Dolan stresses that the most important skill a chiropractor brings to a sports team is the manual adjustment. "Spinal and extremity adjustment is our hallmark, our arena," he says. "Palmer College gives us these skills! Be great at adjusting the spine and extremities first, then become a good overall manual therapist, then add whatever skills you can, such as taping."

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