A valuable new asset for athletes and those looking to recover from injuries has arrived in Gig Harbor: Pro Sport + Spine, a multi-disciplinary clinic that offers chiropractic, sports rehab and massage. Pro Sport, which opened in June, is co-owned by Forrest Hartford, 33, and Sean Spaulding, 30.
Hartford said there was no one in Gig Harbor that was offering the combination of disciplines that Pro Sport offers. While the pair take pride in their ability to get people back on their feet quickly and alleviate pain, the bigger focus is educating customers on long-term prevention of the injury.
“We focus on the root of the problem,” Hartford said. “Why did you get hurt in the first place? If we focus on that, you’re not constantly reliant on having to come in for maintenance care. People here place a high value on being able to take care of themselves and stay busy. You don’t have time to go somewhere every week.”
Hartford, who also works with the Seattle Sounders FC, said educating athletes on why they’re getting the injuries in the first place is key. Often, injuries are caused by overuse of certain muscles, in large part due to children specializing in one sport at a young age.
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“The research is very conclusive: There’s a higher risk of injury with single sport athletes,” he said. “One important part is education; educating parents and athletes on the importance of diversifying what you do. There are dangers of cumulative chronic injury and tissue damage every time you do a little athletic movement. A big part is educating on appropriate rest periods. You have to have an off season or at least a cross-training season where you’re doing something different.”
And if the athlete or his/her parents are adamant about specializing, there are steps to take to reduce the risk of injury.
“If you’re going to play baseball nine months a year, do all the balancing exercises to work against the dysfunction you’re creating.”
That’s where Pro Sports comes in, showing athletes exercises and techniques to reduce injury from repetitive use so they can stay on their feet. Hartford and Spaulding can offer explanations as to how the body is connected, and how to stay healthy.
“Patients are often surprised when they’re in for back pain and I’m talking about their big toe,” Spaulding said. “Everything is connected and everything matters.”
Spaulding enjoys getting people back to playing their sports or doing their activities.
“I love getting the opportunity to get people moving again as quick as possible,” he said. “When you lose it, you don’t realize how important it was. When you can get people back to doing what they love, it opens a window for them, it makes you appreciate what you’ve done. That gives me a whole lot of pride and a good feeling, knowing we’ve helped someone.”
Hartford agreed with Spaulding’s sentiments.
“The biggest thing, taking someone that has had a chronic issue and can get rid of the pain they’ve dealt with and teach them how to control it themselves,” Hartford said. “Letting them be highly functional and you see their success, I think that’s the most rewarding thing. Whether it’s an elite level athlete or a 75-year-old that just wants to play with their grandkids. It’s fun.”
Pro Sport + Spine is located at 5125 Olympic Drive NW.