National University of Health Sciences graduate Curtis Maynard, DC (’81) has been the chiropractic physician to the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team since 1998. He chose a career as a DC after receiving chiropractic care for a sports injury. The physician he worked with recommended National as a great choice in chiropractic schools.
Dr. Maynard’s ultimate goal as a DC student was to someday have a sports medicine practice. After graduating and moving to Arizona, he started treating golfers. Before long, top amateurs and professional golfers began visiting his office. Today, it is not uncommon to see professional golfers Jack Nicklaus, Billy Mayfair or boxing legend Muhammad Ali in the waiting room.
When he started working with the golf teams at Arizona State University, the University of Oklahoma and Oregon State, soon the football, basketball, track, wrestling and baseball coaches also started sending players to Dr. Maynard.
“I treated the Arizona State University football team two to three times per week and also at away games. Many college players who moved on to the NFL would continue to consult with me during their professional careers.”
“When the Arizona Cardinals drafted Pat Tillman and Jake Plummer from ASU, Pat and Jake recommended me to the Cardinals, since the team did not have a chiropractic physician at the time. The team interviewed several chiropractors, but Pat Tillman jokingly bragged he had demanded the Cardinals hire me. He’d say: ‘Dr. Maynard, you wouldn’t have this job without me and I want my cut.'” (Tillman later turned down his million-dollar salary with the Cardinals, joined the Army Rangers and became a war hero.)
Dr. Maynard describes what it’s like working as the team DC: “Football in the NFL is a fast violent game played by spectacular athletes. The speed, strength, agility and intensity that these players possess lead to incredible collisions. The injuries range from mild sprains and strains to fractures and dislocations. It is not uncommon to manipulate ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers along with all areas of the spine. The wear and tear on the players increases as the season progresses.”
“On the sidelines during a game, I am routinely consulted by the entire medical and training staff for my opinion on an injured player, and join them in evaluating all injured players after the game.”
Dr. Maynard feels that having DCs in the NFL has advanced respect and acceptance for the profession. “Several orthopedists, neurologists and internists have asked me how to start a working relationship with a chiropractor. I have tremendous rapport with all the health care professionals and trainers associated with the Cardinals. We all work closely together with one goal in mind: to keep the players healthy. ”
Dr. Maynard credits his education from NUHS for his successful sports medicine career. He says, “National taught me how to interact with medical physicians. This is essential for being a team chiropractor. I integrate my practice daily with orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, family medicine physicians and physical therapists.”
“I am proud of the education I received. In the past two years I have had over 150 referrals to my office from medical physicians. I believe this is directly due to the education I received at National,” he says.
Dr. Maynard’s story shows how an education based in integrative medicine is an important key to success in chiropractic sports medicine, and how chiropractic physicians are gaining respect as integrative medical professionals serving professional sports teams.