First off, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to work with the Los Angeles Kings National Hockey League team. This is the first season that I have had a defined role with the Kings as the Team Chiropractor. In the past 4-5 seasons, the Kings training staff have referred players to my office (Back to Function), that they thought would benefit from chiropractic care. This season, I have spent 1-2 days per week (when the team is at home) at either their training facility in El Segundo, or downtown Los Angeles at the Staples Center, seeing players that require chiropractic care before practices or pre-game skates.
I have had the opportunity to work with 2 professional hockey teams before the Kings. From 2000-2007 I was the Team Chiropractor and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Long Beach Ice Dogs (East Cost Hockey League). From 2005-2009 I was the Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Edmonton Oilers (NHL). With over 14 years of experience in pro hockey, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best hockey players and hockey trainers in the world. One thing that you have to know about hockey teams, is that everyone has a nickname! Sometimes it takes a few weeks to get all the nicknames straight. A few of them are intuitive. For example, in Edmonton, Chris Pronger was referred to as “Prongs”. Not that big of a stretch. But in Los Angeles, it took me a few days to figure out who “Stick” was!
Hockey is a very fast and physical game with a grueling schedule (82 games plus playoffs). Sometimes, success is determined by how healthy the players are able to stay during the season and into the playoffs. Teams that lose significant players to injury, especially close to playoff time, are usually not successful in winning the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. Most teams that win the Stanley Cup play over 100 games. Compare that to the NFL playing 16 games plus playoffs!
A common question that I get from my current clients at Back to Function is: What is the most common injury that you see with hockey?
Hockey is such a fast-paced sport with sometimes violent collisions that the injury spectrum is wide and varied. The most common conditions that I see as the Team Chiropractor are sprains to joints of the neck, mid-back, low back, hips and pelvis and strains to the soft tissue structures of the spine, pelvis, hips, legs and wrists. It is awesome for me to be able to work with a player in the morning that is dealing with a significant painful episode and then watch them play later that night and perform at a high level. To know that I played a part in their success is very rewarding.
P.S. Email, facebook or tweet me if you know the name of the Kings player they call “Stick”.