It is no secret that a career in chiropractic offers practitioners the chance to dramatically improve patient health for both work and play. And in some instances, there’s an opportunity to help those whose play is also their work. Such was the case for Dr. Patrick Hammond, a 1997 Cleveland graduate who was the official chiropractor for the 2012 Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game.
Held July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, the game marked the halfway point of the Major League Baseball season. The players are selected by the fans and the game features the best players in the game showcasing the skills that made them elite players of their sport. Although they are well compensated to play a game for a living, their line of work also yields more injuries than the average job. As a result, they rely on a host of health care professionals and trainers to keep them in peak physical shape.
“I’ve been the chiropractic consultant for the Kansas City Royals since 2002,” Hammond said. “Over the past 10 years, chiropractic has become more of the mainstream in Major League Baseball and the head trainer for the Royals requested that a chiropractor (me) be present for the All-Star Game.”
The weekend of activities including the Futures Game, which puts up-and-coming talent on display, and the always popular Home Run Derby. Hammond was available in the locker room the afternoon of the derby to provide treatment to players or MLB personnel, and then again the afternoon of the All-Star Game. It was a memorable experience, but nothing overwhelming.
“I felt very comfortable since it was in our home ballpark, and I’m used to treating professional baseball players,” Hammond said. “But there’s always that moment of awe for certain athletes/coaches/personnel of MLB, such as meeting Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones.”
Although the treatment didn’t take place in a traditional office environment, the same core principles apply. And because of their occupation, professional athletes are more injury prone, but their return to good health is also more rapid than the average patient.
“There are some significant differences of types of injuries that are unique to professional athletes and their sport that you need to be aware of, but as a whole, it’s very similar,” Hammond said. “In most cases of dealing with professional athletes their overall health and nutrition is better, which gives them an advantage to have a more speedy recovery, which is nice.”
As many sports teams now begin to utilize more diverse health care offerings, chiropractic has established itself as a valuable treatment option. What it can bring to the fields and arenas of professional sport is no longer a secret, and because of that, Hammond believes the future is limitless.
“I think the proudest moment for me was that when I started with the Royals in 2002, under half the teams had a chiropractor. Now, I think all of the teams except two have a chiropractor involved with their team,” Hammond said. “Chiropractic is now in the mainstream of health care with Major League Baseball, which wasn’t the case 10 years ago. Our profession continues to shine and it excites me to think of our growth in the next 10 years!”