Basketball Shooting Star
I was the team chiropractor for the Trenton, New Jersey Shooting Stars basketball team from 1999-2000. The Shooting Stars team was a professional minor league basketball team. Just because they were playing in Trenton didn’t mean they were not good basketball players. Most of the players on the team were college all-stars looking for a break to make it to the NBA or past NBA players trying to make it back to the NBA.
At the beginning of one of their practices, I met with the team and the coaches to explain what chiropractic was about and how it could help them increase their athletic potential. I told the players that the difference between them and the NBA players was so little that anything that could help with their basketball playing could quite possibly put them on a NBA team. Instead of making $20,000 a year in Trenton they could be making the league minimum in the NBA of $350,000 per year. I had someone volunteer to tell the rest of the basketball players what chiropractic was really about.
This is the how the conversation went:
Me: This is a plastic model of the spine. Have you ever seen anything like this before?
Dr.: Do you know where the spine is located?
Me: The spine is located in the back. The hard white plastic is the bone tissue. The yellow part represents the nerves and you can see how they branch off. Do you know what they call the nerves in the middle of your spine?
Me: The spinal cord, it is the portion of the brain that runs down the middle of the bones of the spine. The spine has a lot of functions and one of the functions is support. Do you have any bones in the rest of your body?
Me: What do they do?
Player: They help you move and for support.
Me: The spine is no different, except that there are 26 small bones connected not like your long leg bones. It also protects your spinal cord that runs through the middle of it. These bones are like rings that surround the spinal cord. And they also have holes on the side that surround the yellow colored nerves. The spine and all its bones in its correct position, does a great job of supporting and moving and also protecting the nerve tissue. Now what would happen if I were to move one of these bones out of position?
Me: It would cause pain.
Me: It might cause pain. Is this a good thing or a bad thing if it were to happen?
Player: It’s bad because it’s not protecting the nerve right.
Me: Most people will say this causes pain, but in the majority of the cases it doesn’t cause pain. You have many different types of nerves in your body. If you try and move your foot, How do you get it to move?
Player: By moving my muscles
Me: How do you get the muscles to move?
Player: By the brain telling it to move.
Me: That’s exactly right! The brain sends a message to that muscle in your foot to move.. How does the brain do this?
Player: By the brain telling it to move?
Me: That’s exactly right! The brain sends a message to that muscle in your foot to move. How does the brain do this?
Player: By concentrating and the brain just telling it to move.
Me: Exactly! The brain sends a message over nerves and to the nerves in the muscles of your feet. Can you feel these messages that move the muscles of your feet happening?
Me: That’s because they only control the messages of your muscles. There are other messages that help you feel like temperature and pain they also travel along these nerves. Many of these things are controlling like the muscles and like your stomach for example. Did you eat today?
Me: When you swallow that food it goes into your stomach. What happens next?
Player: It goes through your digestive system.
Me: The body then does things to it, so you can get the nutrients out of it. How does your body know that it has food in the stomach and it should start doing that?
Player: By telling the other parts of the body.
Me: There are also nerves down inside your stomach that communicates with your brain to tell it to start this process. What other parts of your body are supposed to be communicating with these nerves and with the brain? We talked about the muscles and we talked about the digestive system, What other parts of the body?
Player: I’m not sure?
Me: How about the heart?
Me: Is there any part of your body that shouldn’t be getting messages from the brain?
Player: No, they all should be getting these messages from the brain.
Me: You are right! All the parts of the body should be getting messages from the brain. Now back to this previous situation where the bones are pressing on the nerves rather than protecting them. They are interfering with these nerve messages. What would happen if these nerve messages were not getting through properly?
Player: You might be able to feel the pain before it’s too late.
Me: Suppose it wasn’t something involved in feeling and it was the muscle in your leg. What would happen or not happen because of this situation?
Player: The muscle wouldn’t work right.
Me: Right, Would that be a good thing, or a bad thing for the function of that muscle?
Player: A bad thing.
Me: Digestive system?
Player: Bad thing
Player: Bad thing
Player: Bad thing
Player: Bad thing
Me: Is there any part of the body where it would be a good thing to have the nerve messages not getting through?
Me: So all the parts of the body should be receiving nerve messages and is in direct communication with the brain?
Me: Now how would a bone get in this position?
Player: From a hard twist
Me: Could there be anything else?
Me: Anything else?
Me: These three things only took you seconds to name, but you could probably get a long list of things that cause this?
Me: Those three things you named were all physical and could easily happen to someone. What about stress? And I don’t mean physical stress. Do you ever have a stressful day at work?
Me: Do you think that this stress could have the potential to do this to you?
Me: That is a form of emotional or psychological stress. Do you suppose that chemicals, like if you breathe in pollution could cause the same effect on your body?
Me: There are 3 main categories physical, emotional, and chemical that could cause this bone to move out of position. This is the most important word that I will discuss with you. Subluxation. Have you heard of this before?
Me: Subluxation is the word we use to describe when the bones are out of position interfering with the nerve messages from the brain. These things you told me that could cause this to happen are they unusual?
Me: Most people have these things happen to them?
Me: How often do things like that happen in your life?
Player: Every day or every other day
Me: That is not unusual because other people tell me the same thing. Possible on a daily basis then a subluxation could occur. What should we do if the bone is out of place?
Player: put it back in place
Me: As a chiropractor that is what we do. We check to see if there are any of these subluxations and allow the bone to get back in its proper position. Why would you want that to happen?
Player: So your nerve messages would flow freely.
Me: What parts of the body would work better if the nerve messages weren’t interfered with?
Player: All of them
Me: If were able to get it from the subluxation position to its proper position, How long would you like it to stay in that position?
Me: Why would you like to keep the nerve messages open forever?
Player: So your whole body can function properly
Me: Right, so keep it in its protected position. If one of these subluxations were to occur to you within the next hour when would you like it corrected?
Player: Right away.
Me: How often should you get your spine checked?
Player: To keep my body functioning at it’s highest potential.
That is how the conversation ended and afterwards all the players came up to me and said they would call me to make an appointment to get adjusted next week.
Well, one week went by and none of the players came in to get adjusted. Two weeks went by and still no players came into my office. Then three weeks later one player came in to get adjusted. After I adjusted him, I asked him why none of the other players came in to get adjusted? He told me that the athletic trainer said that getting adjusted was too dangerous. I was perplexed because getting adjusted is very safe. Anyway I said to him, If I were you, I would get adjusted every time the team was in town to make sure you’re playing at your highest potential. He told me that he would.
During the second half of the season, I was being interviewed on the local ESPN radio station that covered their games. The radio announcer asked me what I did for the team. I explained to him what chiropractic was about and how important it was to get your spine checked for subluxations. Then at the end of the interview I told him only one player came in to get adjusted on a regular basis. I then asked him who he thought was the most improved player from the first half of the season to the second half? He named the only player that came in to get adjusted by me. Then at the end of the season this player was the only player to be picked up by a NBA team. Now he was making $350,000 a year compared to $20,000 a year. That was a pretty good investment that he made by taking time to get adjusted on a regular basis. Never under estimate the power of a chiropractic adjustment. I only wish the other players would have come in to see me.