Everyone knows it takes a village to keep the world’s elite athletes and entertainers in competitive shape and top form. We often hear of their of personal trainers and coaches traveling in tandem with their grueling schedules. What may often not be very well publicized are the chiropractors that also contribute to their peak performance.
We sometimes hear of athletes speaking out about their chiropractors, such as Boston Marathon winner and Olympian Meb Keflezighi, or through publicized news stories, such as that of 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist McKayla Maroney‘s timely chiropractic care that allowed her to eventually compete in the Olympics. Dynamic Chiropractic was able to personally interview Dr. James Stoxen, a chiropractor that regularly travels with his celebrity clients, and below is an excerpt of that interview.
What’s a typical day like for you?
On a “typical” day I get up at 7 a.m., go to the office, work out in my training center, take a shower and start with patients at 9 a.m. How late I end up working that day and with whom all depends on which athletes I’m preparing for competition, what events are happening that evening: sports competitions, Broadway productions, on-tour concerts, etc., and/or which VIPs have flown in that week for care.
Treating celebrity patients can create other kinds of demands on my schedule. I’m “on call” for five theaters, so I get a lot of calls from stage managers and tour managers to treat individual artists at their theater, hotel, recording studio or temporary residence. This could last until one or two in the morning.
If I’m working with nationally touring Broadway companies, I have treatment hours at the theater from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with half-hour slots. The show starts at 8 p.m., so I can get two to five performers treated before the show starts and the rest of the time is for swings, performers who are out with injuries and management. If there is a performer who needs extended treatment, I set a house call.
So, as you can tell, there is really no typical day. My day never ends before midnight, unless I’m lecturing overseas or with my family.
When you’re working with your celebrity patients, do you treat them at the venue while they’re performing, or are most of your treatments pre and post performance?
Care for top recording artists happens at the venue on the day of the show. I get a very short e-mail like, “Wiggles 4 p.m., or Allstate 4 p.m.” that usually includes the contact person for the backstage pass and set up, what/how I am getting paid and by whom. Most tours cover just the artist; the crew is on their own.
When I arrive, I meet with the production, stage or tour manager. I get my backstage pass and they set me up with a room to begin working. I ask who has special needs and on whom they want me to focus. Any other details of the assignment are ironed out during a five-minute meeting with management.
The volume of work is variable. The Wiggles have about 80 people on tour, only 15 of whom are performers. Any one of them could be experiencing health problems that need attention. The average tour has 120 to 150 cast members and crew. Bigger tours like the Rolling Stones could have 600 employees. The biggest tour I ever worked with was the Vans Shoes “Warped” tour, which had 900 support crew and artists. I only worked on the top executives from that tour.
Who gets treatment varies as well. Sometimes you are only called in for one artist. Most times you are called in for artists and crew. The crew is just as important to me as the performers. There are stage people, lighting people, sound people, truck and bus drivers, carpenters, security or bodyguards, tour managers, wardrobe, dressers, production managers and assistants – all kinds of different individuals involved in putting on a show.
After the artist is off tour, the crew jumps on another tour, so you are bound to see them back through town soon. You will get more requests from the crew and have more opportunities to build relationships with them than with the artist. If I am packing up at 10 p.m. and a guitar tech comes in the room in pain, I unpack and give them an hour-long treatment, if necessary. I’ve had a lot of recommendations from crew members who had previous great results to be the onsite chiropractor for huge tours.
Have you had any particularly unusual treatment situations on tour? What were they and what did you do?
I had an opportunity to work with one of my favorite bands. They’ve sold 80 million records and shaped my music preferences. Their bass player fell 12 feet into the orchestra pit. He landed on his feet, fell back into the wall, hit his head and had to be rushed to the hospital for X-rays and an MRI for broken bones, etc. When it was determined he had no broken bones, I was called in to examine and treat him. I did soft-tissue treatment for two hours and afterward, it was determined he could play that night and continue on with the tour.
The producer was extremely happy to see that the show would go on without a hitch. He gave me a laminated backstage pass and told me, “Doctor, you can come to any of the concerts on our tour and bring anyone you want backstage.” I was very flattered and, of course, would have enjoyed that opportunity, but I never took him up on his offer.
I’ve worked in mansions that resembled museums, lavish penthouses and circus trailers. I’ve worked with beautiful, iconic female artists and the following week, worked at an underground headbanger concert next to a tattoo artist, smelling burning flesh all day. I’ve worked next to man-eating lions at the Moscow Circus under motorcycle ramps, while cycles flew 70 feet over my head. I’ve adjusted teen idols and 400-pound strongmen with 24-inch necks. I’ve worked in recording studios while records were being cut, only to hear them a few months later on the radio. I’ve worked in just about every hotel room in Chicago and in tour buses, private planes and private homes.
As far as onsite sports assignments, I’ve worked backstage at UFC, WBC and WBO title fights. I’ve worked all day in extreme temperatures, from in excess of 100 F in Africa on sweaty track athletes to a frigid dungeon gym in Siberia with Olympic weightlifters. In every case, I have to be prepared to set up the table and go to work without complaining, wherever and whenever was convenient for the patient.
Do you have any preference in treating athletes, vs. recording artists or Broadway stars? What is your favorite type of work?
I consider it a privilege to walk into a stadium and meet someone I’ve idolized for years whose performances have shaped our culture. It feels good to be involved with someone you’ve grown up admiring.
However, elite athletes are very different because their physical health is so crucial to achieving performance levels that break records and win championships. There is tremendous personal satisfaction in working with athletes who have been considered over the hill, broken down or unranked. I have given them treatments to heal; nutrition advice to get the performance edge; and designed and implemented a program of strength and conditioning to increase their power, speed, agility, balance and coordination.
During competition, I spend time analyzing my athletes’ biomechanics to see what I can do to improve their performance. I’m strict with biomechanics in the training room, but never interfere with their athletic coaches or trainers on sports-specific technique. People have asked why I don’t set up a facility to train the athlete for the sport. That’s not my role. The coach sends them to me for treatment, strength training and conditioning, and I stay out of their areas.
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If you would like to find learn more about chiropractors in Augusta GA that specialize in sports injuries, you can schedule a complimentary consultation with Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic. Many of our athletes have said they wish they had considered other alternatives sooner. Our complimentary consultations are an important aspect of our patient experience at our clinic. Additionally, you can also watch videos of our patients and some of Augusta’s very own athletes describing their chiropractic experience with us.
For example, Jeremy is basketball player that recently won MVP, but an ankle injury had sidelined him. He had an important game coming up where college scouts were going be present, but with his injury, playing was not an option. After our customized treatment addressed his ankle injury, he was able to play the very next day, and received excellent feedback from the scouts present. You can watch his video at our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeorgiaClinic
The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.
Augusta GA Chiropractors Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic provides customized treatments to Augusta GA, Martinez GA, and Evans GA patients. Visit the main website at www.georgia-clinic.com for a chiropractor in Augusta GA.
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