Chiropractic sports medicine gives you access to the latest advancements in the sports field, as well as learning how to effectively evaluate, diagnose, and treat injuries
Specializing in a certain area of chiropractic not only sets you apart from your others in the field, but it also establishes you as an expert in that particular niche. While some doctors of chiropractic (DCs) choose to provide services in niche areas such as pediatric chiropractic or regenerative medicine, others decide to take the chiropractic sports medicine route.
Sports chiropractic entails working with athletes and other active individuals in an effort to help them effectively prevent and recover from sports-based injuries. Research also reveals that engaging in chiropractic can help athletic individuals improve sports performance by enhancing hand-eye coordination, hastening reaction time, and more.
What educational avenues exist for DCs who want to specialize in providing chiropractic sports medicine services?
Attend a chiropractic college that offers advanced sports education
If you’re in the beginning stages of becoming a chiropractor, one option is to choose a chiropractic college that offers its students the opportunity to learn more about sports chiropractic specifically.
For example, Palmer College of Chiropractic has Sports Council chapters on each of its campuses. These chapters teach students firsthand how to assist athletes with regard to strength training exercises, peak performance, sports injury rehabilitation, and even nutrition.
Palmer’s Sports Council program also provides instruction about proper sports injury evaluation and treatment methods, emergency response, and additional modalities that can further assist athletes, such as stretching, taping, and engaging in soft tissue therapy.
Finding a chiropractic college that offers this type of program enables you to graduate as a DC with advanced knowledge in the sports chiropractic realm.
Obtain your degree in sports medicine
If you’re already practicing, you can also obtain this type of specialized education by going back to school and earning your degree in sports medicine. Attending classes in these types of programs gives you access to the latest advancements in the sports field, as well as learning how to effectively evaluate, diagnose, and treat some of the most common injuries sustained by athletes today.
Some educational institutions offer the ability to earn an associates or bachelor’s degree in chiropractic sports medicine, whereas others enable you to go one step higher and earn your master’s. Which one you choose depends on how much time you want (or have) to commit to your studies, how deep you want to dive into the sports medicine specialty, and how much money you want to spend to earn your degree.
To ensure that you receive the basic standard of education in sports medicine, it’s helpful to select a program that has been accredited by a governing agency. For example, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) is an accrediting institution within the sports realm. You can even do an online search to determine which university’s programs are accredited by them, and which are not.
Earn your CCSP or DACBSP certification
Another way to showcase your knowledge in chiropractic sports medicine is to earn your certification as a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) or a Diplomate American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DACBSP).
The exams for both of these designations are governed by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (ACBSP), and they are offered in various locations around the country. To qualify, you must:
- submit an online application and pay the associated fee;
- provide a copy of your healthcare provider CPR card and DC license; and
- forward transcripts showing the completion of at least 100 hours in post-graduate training.
Additionally, as of Jan. 1, 2019, all providers with the CCSP and DACBSP designations must earn their SafeSport certification and update it every two years.
Obtain your ICSC certification
Earning your certification as a CCSP or DACBSP aren’t the only options when it comes to specializing in sports chiropractic. The International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (IFSC) offers its own specialized designation as well: the International Certificate in Sports Chiropractic, or ICSC.
This post-graduate program requires that participants take 77 hours of online learning courses and exams, in addition to attending 20-hours of hands-on seminars offered over the course of two weekends. These seminars are designed to help participants learn more about how to diagnose and treat upper and lower extremity issues commonly experienced by today’s athletes.
The IFSC reports that the ICSC designation can only be earned by those who have graduated from an accredited school, and the full program (the online learning and hands-on training) must be completed within three years.
Many educational avenues exist for DCs wishing to specialize in chiropractic sports medicine, which is utilized by virtually every professional sports team, and remains a growing field in the realm of sports medicine.