33 years ago, on Superbowl Sunday, when nobody had the Internet in their house, a charismatic chiropractor named Dr. Nick Athens placed his hands on Joe Montana and adjusted him. If it had happened today, it probably would have gone viral. (Don’t miss some interesting historical sports photos down below.)
It was right before the famous San Francisco 49er quarterback went out and tamed the Denver Broncos, 55 to 10.
What happened just before Super Bowl XXIV?
This was 1990. And while chiropractors had been in the locker rooms and on the sidelines of all kinds of professional sports for years, this was a big deal for chiropractic care in the NFL.
Prior to the Nick Athens and Joe Montana relationship, chiropractic only played a small, private role in most teams, if it played much of a role at all. But there was something about Joe Montana, and Jerry Rice, and the rest of the entire 49er team getting adjusted that really did go viral in the NFL.
Both Montana and Rice had incredibly long careers, with very little injury. And they publicly credited chiropractic care with keeping them in the game longer. Of course it didn’t hurt that Montana and Rice became legends in their positions while they were still playing.
As was related to me by the chiropractor for the Detroit Lions, Dr. Sol Cogan, the Montana effect was felt in the coming years. Successful players who received regular chiropractic care were usually disappointed if there was no team team chiropractor when they were traded to another NFL team. (The 49s had a team chiropractor on staff since at least the mid 1980s.)
Once high performing players started demanding regular spinal care, they got it. After the 1990 Super Bowl, the Today Show did a feature story on Dr. Nick and Montana with Greg Gumbel, for a national TV audience. (You can watch it on YouTube down below.)
For many it was the first time they had seen a chiropractic adjustment of any kind. (Remember, no Internet, no YouTube.) Dr. Nick and Joe took some of the mystery out of the process.
Olympians. Rock stars. and Super Bowl Champions. You see, most get spinal care from a chiropractor, in one form or another. And often, just for health maintenance and injury prevention.
(And when you realize this – it kind of makes you scratch your head a bit at the people who who would rather eat handfuls of maximum strength Motrin for years before they would get adjusted by a guy like Joe Montana’s chiropractor.)
When the stars receive chiropractic care, but you don’t?
While we might think chiropractic and sports performance is a relatively new trend, it isn’t. Chiropractors have been the “secret weapons” of many sports legends and stars, from Babe Ruth to boxer Rocky Marciano.
Sometimes they got press and publicity for their methods, and sometimes they entered in the back door, and no one said anything publicly.
If you’re waiting for permission from your doctor to finally get the care that has been afforded to professional athletes, Olympians, and other stars, you might want to reconsider if you want to wait for medicine in your area to finally catch up.
Here are a few historical photos of a few sports legends receiving chiropractic care.
Rocky Marciano gets his mid-back checked. And Babe Ruth is on the table, getting therapy on this leg, perhaps before or after his adjustment, with Lou Gehrig waiting his turn to the right.
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