Palmer Florida alumni and spouses Frank González, D.C. (Florida, ’19) and Gabriella Mena, D.C. (Florida ’19) are owners of a mobile-based chiropractic practice SoFLo Mobile Chiropractic in the Miami, Florida area. Even though their practice is only three years old, they’re already making a big impact in the world of sports chiropractic. Their passion? Helping people live to their full potential.
Both competitive athletes from a young age, they met while earning their undergraduate degrees in Exercise Science and Health Promotion and attended Palmer Florida together.
“The best thing I did was apply to Palmer College because now I get to live out my dream,” says Dr. Gonzálaz. He has established himself as a well-known sports-focused physician catering to athletes and the Latino-American community in Miami.
Dr. Mena is passionate about helping female athletes, “Working with women in all stages of their life means being able to work my postpartum mamas through rehabilitation of their bodies or adjusting an elite female CrossFit athlete pre-competition so she feels ready to go.”
For the past year, Dr. Gonzálaz and Dr. Mena have been part of the exciting world of CrossFit and sports chiropractic, caring for some of the world’s best athletes. Their journey began when Dr. Gonzálaz met Sasha Nievas, the Argentine Olympic Medalist and 2021 Southern American CrossFit Champion as an Athlete Recovery Volunteer at Wodapalooza, the largest CrossFit festival and competition outside the CrossFit Games.
Dr. Gonzálaz established a trusted relationship, and Nievas requested that he continue working with her virtually as she returned to Cookeville, Tennessee to train at the CrossFit Mayhem. SoFlo Mobile Chiropractic has since traveled with her and her team as they compete at major CrossFit competitions across the country.
“It’s been an out-of-this-world experience,” says Dr. Gonzálaz. “Elite athletes are a different breed. They’re focused, determined and know exactly what they want and what needs to be done to achieve greatness. The time, dedication and sacrifice the athletes make to achieve that level of fitness is amazing. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that most people don’t get to see, from nutrition and training to a recovery and sleep schedule. As their physicians we must be well-versed in most aspects of their life to better help them in each scenario. The professional athletes respect you when you respect your position as the sports chiropractor. They listen to your advice, appreciate your work and ultimately live out the highs and lows of their competition with you. You can literally feel that energy and that is wild!”
The SoFlo Chiropractic team describes their days working with athletes at the CrossFit Games.
“The days typically last from about 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., starting with prepping for the athletes. That means everything from helping them warm up, planning nutrition and fluid intake, organizing equipment, and staking out the best spots to watch them perform so if they do get injured, we get to see the mechanism of the injury.”
There are typically three events throughout the course of the day, and Dr. Gonzálaz and Dr. Mena watch each one, provide care to athletes between events and address their nutritional intake.
“We’ve helped athletes with injuries such as shoulder impingement, L5 vertebra pedicle fracture, labral tear, pectoralis minor tear, hyperactive lumbar paraspinals with scoliotic complication, general low back pain, neck pain, IT band syndrome, soleus sprain/strain and active trigger points galore. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more rewarding to us than being part of an athlete care team,” says Dr. Gonzálaz.
To students interested in sports chiropractic, Dr. Gonzálaz says, “Join the community, walk the walk and talk the talk. Don’t hide from opportunity, get out to those events that you want to work at, ask to shadow and learn from others who are doing the job you want to do.”
Follow @soflomobilechiro on Instagram to keep up to date with everything the team is up to. If you are a Palmer student interested in shadowing them, send them an email! They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.