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Hoops and The Joint: NCAA Basketball Knows the Value of Chiropractic

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Paul Rothbart

Basketball and the Value of Chiropractic

Second only to football, basketball is the most popular NCAA spectator sport. The top teams compete in packed arenas, sometimes on national television. Every school dreams of reaching a spot in the coveted Final Four of “March Madness,” the NCAA tournament in the spring.

Basketball programs in some parts of the country might as well be professional teams. Players and coaches are revered, and qualifying for “the dance” in March is the most important thing in the world.

Players of all levels who compete in this environment are at risk of injury, and proper treatment is necessary for them to heal and get back in the lineup quickly. Just as they are in professional sports, medical personnel are essential in college sports. The University of Maryland, which includes a perennial top basketball program in the nation, knows this and has partnered with The Joint Chiropractic to help keep the Terrapins healthy and competing at their best. It’s no wonder that college basketball teams employ a full medical staff.

What Does a College Basketball Medical Staff Look Like?

College basketball teams, especially those that compete in Division I, have extensive medical staffs to care for their players. Every team has a head athletic trainer and several assistants to diagnose injuries during games and provide immediate treatment.

Every college also has several doctors on its staff, including orthopedists, surgeons, and various medical specialists. Sports medicine is essential to keeping players healthy and the team running like a machine.

Many basketball programs include sports chiropractors. In addition to the Maryland Terrapins, the University of Nevada, University of Houston, Vanderbilt University, USC, and Wofford College athletics are among the official chiropractic partners with The Joint Chiropractic.

What Injuries Are Basketball Players Prone to Having?

Although technically a non-contact sport, basketball is tough on the body. There are more collisions between bodies than many people realize. Combine that with running up and down the court, and constantly jumping, and it’s easy to see how a sports injury can happen in hoops whether it’s the hardwood of an arena or the asphalt of a playground.

Sprained Ankles

The most common basketball injuries by far are ankle sprains. Each time a player jumps, there is the possibility of landing on someone else’s foot or their foot not hitting the floor flat. In these situations, players roll their ankles and can develop sprains. Some sprains are mild and heal quickly, but a more severe injury can keep a player out of the lineup for weeks.

Finger Injuries

Grabbing rebounds, catching passes, and executing steals all involve the ball making hard contact with the hands. A jammed finger is a very common basketball injury. Often, with ice and tape, a player can stay in the game. Sometimes, ligaments may be torn or the finger could be fractured, leading to a longer recovery time.

Knee Injuries

Running and jumping work the knees very hard, and basketball players frequently suffer knee injuries. The patella tendon, meniscus, and ACL are the parts of the knee that are usually damaged. Less severe injuries can be treated with ice and rest while the more serious ones may require surgery.

Thigh Bruises

When players jump, their knees often contact the thighs of players near them. This can cause deep thigh bruises that are painful and may take several weeks to heal.

Is Chiropractic Important to Basketball Players?

With the athleticism and propensity for injuries of the sport, chiropractic care can be very important to basketball players.

Treatment of Injuries

Chiropractic treatment makes adjustments to subluxated joints, or joints that are not in the right position or moving correctly. This can be a big part of treating ankle, knee, and shoulder injuries. It can reduce recovery time for common basketball injuries and get players back on the court faster. Manipulation of the spine can take pressure off the spinal cord and improve the flow through the nerve network, which allows the body to function at its best and could contribute to improved recovery times.

Prevention of Injuries

Another of the benefits of chiropractic is preventing injuries. A subluxation in the spine or joints can make a player more vulnerable to injury. Regular treatments keep everything properly aligned and allow the parts of the body to function together the way they were designed to function. This can reduce the risk of injury while keeping an athlete’s body moving well.

Performance Boost

One of the most important aspects of seeing a chiropractor is that it can help improve a player’s athletic performance. Properly aligned joints can function more easily through their full range of motion. Reaction time, according to at least one study, may be faster with a spine that has been properly aligned. Many chiropractic patients find that they sleep better when receiving treatments. All of this can add up to better performance on the court, more wins, and maybe that trip to the Final Four that college players and their fans dream about.

Is Chiropractic Important to All Athletes?

Basketball is not the only sport in which players are at-risk of injury or can use a performance boost. Athletes in many sports benefit from treatments. Football, baseball, soccer, golf, tennis, hockey -- any game that people play -- can be hard on the body. Athletes in every kind of competition can and do benefit from chiropractic whether they are men, women, boys, girls, professional, college, high school, youths, or weekend warriors in a Beer League.

Which Athletes Have Endorsed Chiropractic?

Legendary athletes have used and endorsed chiropractic. When talking about basketball, arguably the greatest player of all-time, Michael Jordan, swore by seeing a chiropractor throughout his incredible career. In the NFL, Tom Brady and Joe Montana, perhaps the two best quarterbacks to ever throw a pass, were both proponents of chiropractic, as was the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmit Smith, and the greatest wide receiver in league history, Jerry Rice.

All-time great golfers Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus credit chiropractic care with contributing to their amazing performance on the links.

What Is the Benefit of Chiropractic for Weekend Warriors?

You don’t have to be a pro or a high-level amateur to reap the benefits of seeing a chiropractor. Weekend warriors may not get paid, but they compete hard nonetheless. Add a full-time job and caring for a family and they need as much help as any professional to keep their game at its best.

Whether you shoot 18 holes on Sunday afternoons, play rec league softball or soccer, compete in touch football, or play three-on-three pick-up games at the local playground, seeing a chiropractor can help prevent injuries, treat the ones that do occur, and help make you a star of the neighborhood.

Background for Maryland Terrapin Basketball

It is significant that the University of Maryland basketball program has partnered with The Joint Chiropractic. The Terrapins have a long and storied history in NCAA hoops. Dating from their inaugural season in 1904-05, the Terps have compiled an impressive record of 1,641-1,086. Maryland has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 30 times with four Elite Eight appearances, two Final Fours, and a championship in 2002. They reached the Sweet 16 in 2016, and have been to the round of 32 in 2019, ‘21, and ‘23.

The current Terrapins have a lot to live up to and build. They need every edge they can get competing in the tough Big Ten. The Joint Chiropractic will do its part to help them -- and the other athletic programs they work with -- perform their best.

What Are the Odds that Maryland Makes the Final Four?

With new coach Kevin Willard at the helm, the Terrapins are in a state of transition. A solid recruiting off-season should help them improve on last year’s sixth-place finish in the Big Ten. Maryland is not expected to compete with the top teams but could make the tournament. Occasionally, a Cinderella emerges from a team invited to the dance. The Terps may have a magical run in them. Stranger things have happened.

Basketball and Chiropractic

Basketball is fast, physical, and demanding. It’s tough on the body and players need medical treatment frequently. Chiropractic is an important part of a college's athletic medical staff. Maryland and the college programs that have partnered with The Joint Chiropractic know this and seek to take advantage of the benefits of chiropractic care.

If you’re an amateur athlete, see what chiropractic can do for you. The Joint has clinics throughout the U.S. You don’t need an appointment so stop by the nearest location. Doing so to improve your health and your game is a slam dunk.

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