Helping ballet dancers
perform with intensity
Margaret Huling, ballet mistress for
Ballet Quad Cities,
in a performance of “Carmen.”
Photo by Joe Maciejko
The three chiropractors at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care
in Bettendorf, Iowa, rely heavily on the core tenet of the body
being able to heal itself, but they’re also instructors for Active
Release Technique and use this soft tissue management system as
a complementary approach to patient care, says Jesse Walden,
D.C., one of the practice’s doctors and a 2006 graduate of Palmer’s
Davenport campus. This combination has proven successful with
athletes of all levels.
The practice sees a variety of patients from week-old infants to 95-
year-olds. “A lot of our patients are people who are intentionally
active regardless of their athletic ability,” Dr. Walden adds. “Thankfully
we’ve developed a good reputation for getting people better
quickly, so we’ve been fortunate to see some higher-level athletes.”
About a dozen of the world-class athletes they see regularly are
members of Ballet Quad Cities, a ballet company founded in 1996
that consists of 13 highly trained full-time professional dancers.
Ballet Quad Cities Executive Director Joedy Cook was so
impressed by the care she and the dancers of Ballet Quad Cities
received at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care, she now recommends
her dancers go to the practice first if they
experience any kind of pain or injury.
“I recommend to all of my dancers, and in fact to anyone,
that they see a chiropractor before any other
health care professional,” Ms. Cook says. “Chiropractic
care is conservative and natural, and that’s always
the preferred treatment before more invasive methods
Chiropractic care is beneficial for ballet dancers in a
number of ways. “Ballet dancers use and integrate
unique combinations of speed, power, control and
stamina when they perform, therefore they’re very
aware when subtle dysfunctions may be present,” Dr.
Walden adds. “Applying appropriately specific adjustments
after a thorough biomechanical evaluation
allows the dancers to intensely train with a reduced
risk of injury, and therefore perform at high levels.”
Pro golfers to middle schoolers
Johnson in front of
his Cedar Rapids,
David Johnson, D.C., Davenport ’77, Cedar
Rapids, Iowa, is no stranger to sports. Between
watching his son, professional golfer and Masters
Champion Zach Johnson, and devoting his time
providing care to Mount Mercy College student-athletes, he sees a variety of athletes in his practice.
From middle school sports participants to high-level competitors, each day is a reminder of how vital
chiropractic care is to the current success and future potential of these athletes.
Dr. Johnson with his
son, pro golfer and
“Athletes are turning to chiropractic first after injuries,” he says. “They’re looking for less-invasive procedures
that allow for shorter turnaround times and few side effects and setbacks. Chiropractic is just
that. They are seeing the results and continue to see them under chiropractic care.”
They want to stay
in the game
Dr. Anne Sorrentino (left), working through WMI
Global, LLC, directs a spine boarding drill at the Toyota
City Championships Brooklyn for the Dew Tour.
Anne Sorrentino, D.C., DACBSP, Davenport ’88,
Tysons Corner, Va., became interested in sports
chiropractic after successful chiropractic treatment
of her own shoulder injury.
“I saw the value of using chiropractic with athletes
and took the CCSP (Certified Chiropractic Sports
Physician) course a few years after graduating from
Palmer to learn the specifics of sports injuries,” she
says. She then went on to earn her sports diplomate.
Earning her CCSP and DACBSP gave her credibility
and the opportunity to work with the recreational
teams her sons played on as they grew up, she adds.
“As new sports treatments came out, I learned them.
Soft tissue work, both manual and instrument assisted,
and kinesiology taping are staples for every
sports med D.C.”
Even with all of these qualifications, Dr. Sorrentino
says it was an uphill battle to care for athletes in
school programs because Pennsylvania laws didn’t
favor chiropractors working in schools. “Finally, a college
club ice hockey team that had no sports medical
services was thrilled to have me help them and I have
been ever since,” she says.
Athletes make for rewarding patients, she says, because
they’re “so appreciative of any help you can give
them. They want to stay in the game. Because they’re
in such good shape, they respond quickly to care.
Athletes are more compliant with their exercises, although
sometimes you have to slow them down because
they want to do too much.”
Working with community athletes
Karen Roitz, D.C., DACBSP, San Jose ’96, was in a car
accident the summer before she was due to attend
UC-Berkeley, from which she’d earned a scholarship
to play on the Bears’ nationally ranked women’s volleyball
team. She sought chiropractic care, and the
positive results not only enabled her to continue training
for her first season on the UC-Berkeley volleyball
team, but also inspired her to become a chiropractor.
“Being a sports chiropractor was a natural progression
for me, because I’m an athlete, and I love all
sports,” she says. She’s the founder and director of
SOL Santa Cruz, a multidisciplinary clinic providing
evidence-based chiropractic care and other sportsperformance
programs. “The emphasis in my office
is working with the ‘community athlete.’ ”
She has served as chiropractor for the Santa Cruz
Derby Girls since 2008 and provides care for members
of the Cabrillo College women’s volleyball
team. She has provided care at multiple athletic
events, including Sports Council events like the Sea
Otter Classic, Ironman triathlons in Hawaii and
Canada, AVP Pro Beach Volleyball and numerous cycling
“I love being a sports chiropractor,” she says, “and
helping any athlete, from the first-time marathoner
to the professional mountain-bike rider to the collegiate
volleyball player. It’s not about getting to the
starting line or to the championship, it’s about getting
there without injury, ready to perform at the
Paying it forward
for those with sports injuries
Dr. Baker adjusting a patient in his San Jose clinic.
As a tennis player at Grove City College in Pennsylvania,
for Chris Baker, D.C., San Jose ’11, the physical
rigors of practicing six days a week, combined with
competitive tournaments, resulted in a mid-match injury,
which led to his introduction to chiropractic.
His care enabled him to quickly recover from his overuse
injuries and served as the inspiration to become a
chiropractor. Dr. Baker practices with fellow San Jose
alumnus Justin Brink, D.C., CCSP, (’06) at Premiere
Spine and Sport in San Jose.
He emphasizes the preventive benefits of chiropractic
care with his patients.
“Chiropractic is very effective at facilitating the healing
and recovery process from an acute injury, but athletes
also need to know how they can proactively
prevent the injury from recurring,” he says.
Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic was the best thing
he could do, Dr. Baker asserts. “It’s a great feeling to
‘pay it forward’ for people who need the care, just like
I did. The everyday athlete is just like me. They’re often
hyper-competitive, and care so much about being able
to play their sport or do their fitness routine.”
For the love
of the game
In addition to her work with the Outlaws, Dr. Morris
has provided care for world-class swimmers as a
chiropractor for USA Swimming.
One of the reasons the Austin Outlaws are the
country’s longest-running women’s full-tackle
football team (15 years)—and posted a 6-1 record
during the 2014 season—could be the clinical
skills and philanthropic spirit of San Jose campus
2000 alumna Tara Mahar Morris, D.C., CCSP,
who’s volunteered her sports-care services for the
past eight years.
The Outlaws, part of the semipro
Women’s Football Alliance,
are “everyday athletes” in every
sense of the words, Dr. Morris
says. “I treasure working with these
women. They embody the spirit of
everyday athletes by working all day
and then training with the team in the evenings.”
But while the Outlaws may compete “for the love
of the game,” they do share one thing in common
with their professional and collegiate counterparts:
the risk of injury and the possibility that every play
could be their last.
“When you play a game simply for the sheer joy of
competition, and you suffer a severe injury, it’s just
as devastating to walk away from the game as it is
for their professional counterparts,” Dr. Morris says.
“I love volunteering my time to provide care for
these athletes, because they’re so appreciative and
gracious. It gives me just as much pride, if not
more, to work with them as it does with Olympic
and professional athletes.”
Treating everyone with
Dr. O’Tool adjusts a Relay Iowa participant.
Being a sports-focused chiropractor “is a fun and
rewarding path,” says Joe O’Tool, Davenport ’11,
Grimes, Iowa. For him, there were several key
factors to becoming a sports chiropractor.
First, you need a passion for the individuals seeking
your care, he says. “Genuine care always comes first
for me, and the money and fun follow along with
that.” Second is understanding the principles of
chiropractic and the unique perspective that chiropractic
brings to the athlete’s health care team.
The third key factor is being able to speak the specific
language of your target patient base. “Being a
competitive, multi-sport athlete since childhood
has helped,” he says. “Having a wide range of experience
to draw from can be a benefit.”
Finally, he says, making connections is vital to success.
“My break came from treating every patient
with the same elite-level care,” he says. “Shortly before
our grand opening, a pharmaceutical sales rep
scheduled an appointment for a neck issue from a
bike accident that had bothered her for 18 years.
Shortly after that, her husband came in for care. As
it turned out, he owns an endurance athlete coaching
company.” The referrals kept coming from there.
“Athletes are constantly pushing themselves and
need a person on their health care team that understands
the function of the nervous system and how
to keep it functioning at an elite level,” Dr. O’Tool
adds. “This pushes me to constantly review research,
hone my skills and learn to communicate
in a manner that elevates everyone around me.”
Chiropractic is for athletes of all ages
Dr. Ryan Johnson
Ryan T. Johnson, D.C., graduated from Palmer’s Port Orange campus in 2013
and began his own practice, Integrated Chiropractic, in Sarasota, Fla., a year
ago. He’s been treating athletes from Riverview High School in the Sarasota
area, working mostly with the football, track and soccer programs. He also
provides sports physicals and exams for the students.
His passion for working with young athletes has extended to working with
athletes from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. IMG is world-renowned
for producing top athletes from high school to professional players training
during the off-season. College football players training for the NFL Combine
also work with IMG. One of Dr. Johnson’s favorite stories is about how he had
the opportunity to treat a college national football champion the day before
he went to the 2014 NFL Combine and Draft.
“Chiropractic care is essential for athletes of all ages, no matter where they are in their career,” he says.
“Adjustments help provide the body the opportunity to heal, stay balanced and prevent future injuries.”
More resources for athletes
Dr. Mark Chen
Mark Chen, D.C., DACBSP, is a 2006 graduate of Palmer’s Port Orange campus.
He and his wife, Amber Plante, D.C., a 2005 Port Orange graduate, own their
practice in Ocala, Fla., which focuses on wellness, sports and pediatrics. They
provide care to local athletes ranging in age from eight to 50 years old.
Dr. Chen has been a team physician for several area high school football teams,
men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and baseball teams. He’s also been
part of the medical staff for several national and international taekwondo tournaments.
Drs. Chen and Plante also participate in a county-wide school-physical
program each year where 600-700 athletes are examined in one day.
Dr. Chen’s advice to chiropractic students interested in being a sports chiropractor
is to be over-prepared. “You never know what you’ll encounter in the field and
you should always be ready,” he says. “Sports chiropractors are usually preferred by athletes.”
Impacting recreational athletes
Dr. Kevin Rose
A former minor-league
baseball player in the Philadelphia
Kevin Rose, D.C., CCSP,
San Jose ’11, is the owner
and director of Pro Form
Sports Chiropractic in San
Diego, Calif. He practices
with his brother, fellow
San Jose campus alumnus
Travis Rose, D.C., (’13).
Having benefited from
chiropractic care as a competitive athlete, Dr. Rose
now enjoys helping his patients achieve their athletic
goals. “Advancements in the field of sports
chiropractic have come about by the growing
number of elite athletes seeking chiropractic to
help them stay at ‘the top of their game,’ ” he says.
But the majority of athletes he and his brother treat
“The skills we learn from working with top athletes
enable us to help the recreational athletes achieve
much-improved outcomes. Often, when working
with recreational athletes, we tap into our clinical
knowledge and expertise as chiropractors a bit
deeper, because we’re called upon to not only help
them with care and management of their primary
injury, but also coaching, strength-training and nutrition.
Having the ability to impact different aspects
of their health makes working with my
recreational athletes so rewarding.”
Helping active people
feel their best
Dr. Rodman takes care of one of his athletic patients.
Todd Rodman, D.C., CCSP, CSCS, Port Orange ’08, is the founder
of Sports Chiropractic and Natural Health Solutions, a non-surgical
sports-medicine clinic established in June 2009 in Boca
Raton, Fla. The majority of his patients are high school, college
and professional people and active individuals who want to feel
their best, maximize athletic performance and “not be told to stop
doing what they love to do,” he says.
Dr. Rodman is the official team
chiropractor for Florida Atlantic
University (FAU) and West Boca
High School and is the director of
athlete services for the Cross-Fit
Southeast Regionals. While he attributes
his success to many things,
he says most specifically it’s due to
focus, dedication, work ethic and
ability to relate to the athlete.
“I played Division 1 college baseball
and had many injuries from playing
hard and heavy weightlifting,” he
says. “I’ve been on the treatment
table many times.”
His proudest practice moment came
when he became the official team
chiropractor for the FAU Owls.
“They already had two excellent
team chiropractors for about 10
years and weren’t looking to hire another
D.C.,” he says. “FAU gave me
a chance because they believed in
my abilities to treat a wide variety of
musculoskeletal issues and my philosophy
toward treating athletes. I
believe in treating the entire musculoskeletal
system, not just the muscles
and not just the bones, but the
entire inter-related system.”