Chiropractic Careers: Supporting Women Athletes
Jasmine Hanson, DC didn’t set out to be a sports chiropractor, but she built a thriving sports-focused career. She is a partner in her private practice, Pure Health Chiropractic, and is the first woman to be hired as a chiropractor by the University of Minnesota (UMN). At UMN, her focus is supporting women athletes who might not be comfortable with male providers. In her private practice, she takes her time with patients and ensures they get the care they need.
Dr. Hanson also works as an EMT, does sideline care, and supervises interns at her clinic. We talked with her to learn more about how she built her career and asked for some advice for future sports chiropractors.
Deciding to Pursue Sports Chiropractic
In chiropractic school, Dr. Hanson wanted to do research. Dr. Stark—former director of the Human Performance Center—supported her research endeavors. “And then I liked the trauma, the fast pace, and the expansive number of injuries,” she shared. She took an EMT class, and it all started to make sense.
After graduation, Dr. Hanson worked as an EMT with teams including Minnesota United. As time has passed, she’s been able to bring her chiropractic training into that work. However, she started her career in general practice, which is what she would recommend.
“I think the Olympics has a rule where you can’t do a rotation with them until you’ve been in practice for three to five years, so I kind of had the same mentality,” she explained. “I feel like most people can’t start in sports right away. You have that imposter syndrome when you first start and you don’t have many experiences with cases from start to finish, especially if they are a challenging case.”
Private Practice: Treating Athletes and Everyone Else
Dr. Hanson is certified in acupuncture and takes longer with her patients than most chiropractors. It’s important to her to fill a gap in healthcare and be someone her patients can trust.
“I think in healthcare today, patients often don’t know what to do or where to go and aren’t directed towards answers appropriately,” she shared. “Chiropractors are a great in-between. We can refer, we can communicate with MDs. Overtime, the most rewarding cases for me have been when I’m like, ‘Okay, this patient actually needs something more invasive or surgery.’”
As an introvert, she was surprised at how much she enjoys patient interaction and building relationships with her patients. “It would be difficult for me to go into research now even though I would love the opportunity because I’m invested in these people and their stories,” said Dr. Hanson.
Supporting Women Athletes at the University of Minnesota
Dr. Hanson was already seeing some UMN athletes in her practice when she decided to pursue a position as a team chiropractor. As a former athlete (a swimmer), she knew that many woman carried experiences that would make them uncomfortable working with a male practitioner. She believed it would be valuable for UMN to have a woman chiropractor on staff.
Shortly after she earned her sports diplomate, one of Dr. Hanson’s interns encouraged her to go for the position, and she did. Now, she works closely with athletes and athletic trainers. “It’s just really fun to be part of an interdisciplinary team. I learn from the doctors and trainers, and I hope they learn from me.”
Advice for Future Sports Chiropractors
Dr. Hanson encourages new chiropractors to find a mentor, and to get involved in the community. “Don’t be afraid to contact other sports chiropractors, that’s another thing that’s really helpful,” she shared.
She also recommends considering getting multiple degrees and certifications. Her EMT license, acupuncture certification, and sports diplomate all help her stand out, and bring value to teams that bring her in.
“I work with a brilliant sports chiropractor right now who’s an athletic trainer,” she explained. “I know school is already a lot of effort and work, but if you’re really passionate and you want to work with sports teams specifically, really having multiple degrees is going to be important.”
Know What You’re Getting Into
It takes a certain type of person to become a sports chiropractor. You will work long hours, putting in a lot of effort and time. “The passion has to come internally, there’s not a ton of money in sports,” explained Dr. Hanson.
Her friends in women’s health or standard spinal-based health work set hours. “Sometimes I’m a little envious,” she laughed. “I can get a text at any time.”
“Athletes are often very healthy,” she shared. “So if you don’t have an interest in trauma and extremity care, sports chiropractic probably isn’t for you–you’d be bored.”
At the end of the day, the work fits her. “I like to joke with my interns, ‘if you like watching football games for the injuries, this might be the right thing for you.”