Sports Chiropractor Career Path: Dr. Alan Palmer
Shining the Spotlight on Dr. Palmer’s Success as a Sports Chiropractic Physician
Dr. Alan Palmer led an exciting sports chiropractic career after graduating from chiropractic school at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU). His most rewarding experience came when he worked as the Arizona Diamondbacks team chiropractor. He watched the D-backs capture the 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees.
The World Series is at the pinnacle of Dr. Palmer’s experiences, and he has accomplished so much more as an athlete chiropractor. Chief among them is launching the Pro Baseball Chiropractic Society in 2013 and the Professional Hockey Chiropractic Society in 2018.
The Pro Baseball Chiropractic Society was created when Dr. Palmer worked with the San Francisco Giants during spring training, and their athletic trainer urged him to start a network of chiropractors who could work with Major League Baseball players. For years, if a team did not have an on-staff chiropractor, players had to find their own chiropractic physician in the cities they visited — a time-consuming and often fruitless search.
In addition to making it easier for professional athletes to find competent chiropractic physicians, the Pro Baseball Chiropractic Society and Professional Hockey Chiropractic Society help increase a chiropractor’s level of proficiency working with professional athletes. At annual workshops, certified athlete chiropractors train others for these types of chiropractor roles.
Dr. Palmer said this kind of work is rewarding because he and his colleagues can encourage and give insights to young chiropractors so they can achieve their dreams. Educating was always an important part of Dr. Palmer’s practice, as he always enjoyed teaching patients, interns, and associates about functional medicine, diet, and exercise.
Passing the Chiropractic Baton
He is trying to give back by helping young students pursue their own chiropractic career and encouraging others to, “pass off the baton to the younger generation of chiropractors who can continue the growth and acceptance of chiropractic.” He notes that the athlete chiropractor field — and the chiropractic field as a whole — has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 20 years.
Now that Dr. Palmer has closed his personal practice, he said what he misses most is interacting with his patients. Those relationships were one of the best parts of working as a healing arts practitioner. He enjoyed seeing results and growth in people and, “helping them achieve a greater quality of life.”
How NWHSU Helped Dr. Palmer Find His Sports Chiropractic Career Path
Dr. Palmer (Alan) knew he wanted to be a chiropractor from an early age. As a teenager, he suffered a serious weightlifting injury that could have resulted in a difficult surgery. Instead of such an invasive procedure, Alan and his family consulted with an athlete chiropractor. They found Dr. Brian Zinn in St. Louis Park.
Dr. Zinn had experience working with the Minnesota Vikings and other teams and used his knowledge of the body to help Alan heal quickly without surgery. Dr. Zinn discovered structural issues that no other doctor found. He explained to Alan that issues with his foot led to issues with his hip that ultimately impacted his spine. Armed with this comprehensive view of Alan’s body, Dr. Zinn offered non-invasive treatments. Soon, he was back into weightlifting and other sports.
Alan knew immediately that he wanted to go into sports medicine and ultimately work with athletes as a chiropractor. He chose Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) because of its program affordability and prime location in Bloomington, MN.
In chiropractic school at NWHSU, Alan gained a strong understanding of the structures of the body. He also learned that transforming from Alan into Dr. Alan Palmer was about more than the spine. He and other aspiring chiropractors had to learn the kinetic chain: how the foot interacts with the ground, how stride impacts each part of the body, from the foot, ankle, knee and up the entire kinetic chain.
Why Choose NWHSU’s Chiropractic School?
Dr. Palmer praised the extensive education he received in chiropractic school at NWHSU. The knowledge he gained about anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and the human body stuck with him throughout his years of practice. He loved learning so much and gaining such a strong science background. “I’m like a sponge; I love absorbing as much information as I can.”
Dr. Palmer raves about his experience at NWHSU. In addition, he has heard great things from the interns and associates he has trained over the years. These young professionals were well prepared for practice with the comprehensive education they received.
Advice for Chiropractic Students
Dr. Palmer’s advises chiropractic students and those starting their chiropractic career to get working with someone they trust or admire. Find an internship or associate chiropractor job with someone they know or have worked with. This experience will improve their technical know-how a well as help them learn the business side of a chiropractic career.
“Spend a year or two getting familiar with how a practice runs — learn the street smarts from someone else.”