Golfing sensation Jordan Spieth got within striking distance of winning his second Master’s Tournament this year, following his triumph in 2015.
Alas, while victory eluded him this time, he still finished tied for second place—a highly respectable position considering the caliber of the competition.
At his press conference in 2015, Spieth drew attention for publicly thanking his chiropractor, Troy Van Biezen, DC, ART, BPE, for helping him reach peak performance. This was excellent publicity for the value of chiropractic care, and it also delivered a major boost to Van Biezen’s career. We caught up with Van Biezen earlier this year and spoke with him about how he was able to position his practice so prominently.
Becoming a chiropractor, for Van Biezen, was originally not in the cards. He was on track to become an orthopedic surgeon, when a back injury from playing hockey led him to visit a doctor of chiropractic. “He was great! He had me fixed up in about six to eight weeks. I couldn’t believe it—why hadn’t anyone told me about chiropractic?” Van Biezen says.
Having found relief through chiropractic instead of drugs and the prospect of surgery, he wanted to learn more about chiropractic and eventually changed his career path. His desire to help others the way he’d been helped himself set his sights on a sports chiropractic practice to help athletes get rid of pain and injury, prolong their careers, and perform at a high level.
“I truly feel that a doctor going through what I did will become so passionate that it drives you to be the best. And I wanted to be the best at what I do.”
Making the connection
Van Biezen’s facilities in Dallas are known in the area as the go-to place for athletes. His integrated practice includes three associate chiropractors, a massage therapist, a strength coach, and administrative support staff under one roof. “The communication and continuity of care between specialists as they enter the different phases of the continuum is a powerful tool when treating athletes as they return to play.”
He has been traveling with the PGA Tour for 14 years, nearly nine of them on the PGA Tour medical staff, which means he was the chiropractor on-site during tournament season for all 140 players in the field. It’s only in the last four to five years that he has been traveling exclusively with a handful of the other players.
“Jordan had heard about me in the golf world, and he was having some back issues,” Van Biezen says. “So it just made sense when Jordan started to play on the PGA Tour that I would travel with him as well.”
The daily grind
Working as the attending DC to elite athletes conveys exceptional challenges. Van Biezen says one major difference this group presents are that pro athletes are impatient by nature, and if you can’t get them fixed up fairly quick they won’t stick around. “If you want to be a sports chiro, you’d better be on top of your game.”
During tournament season, Van Biezen works long hours. His week starts Monday and he’ll be on-site through Sunday, typically waking up around 4:30 a.m. to get his players treated and warmed up. He might not leave the course until 7 or 8 p.m.
“Last year I was on the road for 32 weeks. That makes for a long year; however, my players won 10 times, including three majors and a Players Championship,” Van Biezen says. He credits the tremendous support he receives from his practice staff and his family for making his schedule possible.
After Spieth won the 2015 Masters, Van Biezen found himself at the center of a lot of attention. “My personal and clinical life has been crazy, but a good crazy,” Van Biezen says. “A lot of great people in the industry have reached out to me and have been very gracious in helping me spread the chiropractic message.”
He acknowledges that Spieth thanking him while accepting the green Masters jacket was pivotal both for his practice and for the profession.
Van Biezen’s practice extends well beyond the golf circuit. At one time or another he has been affiliated with most of the professional sports teams in Dallas. Currently, he works with the Dallas Stars hockey team, a natural fit given that he grew up in Canada.
“The pro-athlete circle is smaller than most people think, and when you’re accepted into that inner circle, your name gets tossed around—then you start getting phone calls from very high-profile athletes,” he says.
Of course the skills Van Biezen develops for treating athletes translate into his general practice, too. One of the most common things he sees in his clinic is patients who have worked hard their whole lives and who are now ready to retire and play golf, but their bodies just won’t let them.
“But once they come into the office and get into our integrative program, they are back on the golf course, feeling great, and loving their retirement. We sometimes forget the impact we can have on peoples’ lives and to see them have their lives restored is very gratifying.”