Student athletes admire and emulate the pros in their sports.
Unfortunately, this mimicry may extend to the abuse of painkillers to avoid injury and enhance performance. One recent study found that approximately half (53 percent) of college-student athletes reported using medications to enhance performance, and another study of high-school-student athletes found that 12 percent of male and 8 percent of female high school seniors reported abusing medications.
Football, in particular, prompts student athletes to seek out ways to enhance performance. “Youth and high-school players see an example that appears to be of men so tough, they laugh at pain,” writes former ESPN.com columnist Gregg Easterbrook in his book, “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America.” “The message sent is that young players should use their own bodies recklessly,” he notes.
Student athletes seeking treatment for pain and wanting to avoid painkillers have options in alternative health care, including chiropractic. Chiropractic care has been used successfully to treat various types of sports-related neuromuscular pain, including neck, back, leg, and knee issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been urging physicians to avoid prescribing opioids for pain for the past several years. Student athletes, their doctors, and their parents should keep in mind that chiropractic care remains a safe, effective, and non-pharmacologic option for pain management, injury recovery, and prevention of additional injuries. “Doctors of chiropractic play a key role in sports health by providing hands-on care that helps to improve range of motion, flexibility, muscle strength, and other key performance factors,” notes Sherry McAllister, DC, of the not-for-profit organization, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.