Weirdly enough we have been sold a lie about injuries and because of that, they are swept to the side when it comes to healthcare. The lie is that health care is for those who want pills, are sick, diseased or need surgery. Serious athletic injury require surgery but most do not fit any of these categories, so they become more of a walk it off type of medical problem. The ramifications of this are huge and have actually hurt each individual profession that is under the sports medicine branch.
Forget Sports Medicine – Take Care of Your Own Injuries
Every day millions of people go out for runs, play recreational sports, organized sports and go to the gym. When doing these activities injuries are bound to happen but many are really left unsure of what to do when they get hurt.
When I first started the Kho Instagram and would get questions sent in from athletes. I first made it sure that they understood I was not a Dr. I was so confused as to why they were sending me questions. What I did next told them that they needed to find a PT, Chiro or whoever I thought could help their injury the best. 90% of athletes did not know what I was talking about.
They had never heard of a PT, chiro and had never had a massage their entire life. I was actually dumbfounded by this! How have you been playing sports for the last 7 years of your life and you have never even heard of a Chiropractor before? The ones who did just knew each profession in such a limited role. I knew this was not good.
Injuries Do Not Heal As Well As Well On Their Own As We Think – We Need Sports Medicine
A common misconception is that over time our body will just go back to normal. You often see this at the end of a season. An athlete may have been pulling through a groin strain all year. Once the season is over, there will be an offseason which means rest.
As you know, the problem is just resting will not always get the human body back to a place where it is ready to perform at a high level. The body needs hands to get in there and human intervention to help speed up and ensure a proper healing process.
Sports Medicine Providers Must Educate The People
Whenever I tell anyone outside of athletic departments that my wife is an athletic trainer they usually have no idea what I am talking about. Most people think since she is an athletic trainer that she literally trains athletes (like a coach).
The question is, how can the sports medicine industry thrive when no one understands what you do? The answer is that it can’t.
A big part of what we set out to do with Kho Health is just basic education. When I talk with athletes I make sure they understand what each profession is and how they can help. It is important that they know this. Kho Health has an entire feed that athletes can view daily full of content from providers educating the masses on sports medicine.
When I was a little boy I saw my first Chiropractor. I remember most of the time when I went to him he would hook me up to the stim machine. Then I went and saw this other guy who knew Active Release Technique(ART) and that became my standard. I would rarely get treatment from someone who did not know ART.
Then when I was a little older, I broke my leg and I was assigned a physiotherapist from the hospital. That was when I learned about that important last 20% of rehab that is often missed. She did an amazing job on the first 80% of my rehab but she did not 100% get me ready to play football again.
Then I got introduce to this massage therapist who was just a magician. He knew active release, muscle activation, and he was a through educator and he really opened my eyes. I realized that there was a therapist that just upgraded to another level. The way the profession described these people just did not do them justice.
Constantly Promote Your Profession
What you need to do is promote your profession more. If you’re an athletic trainer you should be dead set on making sure people understand what it is that you do. When you don’t do that you actually hurt the profession. If people did not really know what a lawyer did how could that profession grow? Short answer, It could not grow!
You need to get out in the community and educate these athletes from a young age. High school is too late because by that point many opinions have already been formed. As an athlete that fell in love with therapy from a young age, I know it is much easier to convince a 10-year-old than a skeptical teenager.
Another huge opportunity that is missed is with parents. If you think it’s bad that the athletes don’t know, well the parents know even less. They may think they know what a chiro is and think that you only see a chiro after a car accident.
They also often think that a physio is only for after you have a workplace accident. It is craziness and the only way these perceptions will be fixed is when you go out there and fix them.
They say that trees are often planted by people who will never get to enjoy their shade. Right now sports medicine needs that sort of altruism because it has to be bigger than just helping yourself. You should care so much about your profession that you want to leave it better than you found it.
The Growth Mindset is Not Optional For Sports Medicine to Move Forward
I was reading “The Everything Store” the other day and Jeff Bezos said something that really stood out to me. He was talking about eBay and how he does not see competing with them as a zero-sum game because they are both trying to grow the e-commerce pie. He understood that by eBay doing well, it meant that more people would be used to buying online which was a win for Amazon as well.
Sports medicine professionals need to take on this attitude as well. One thing that Kho is committed to doing is just growing the entire industry. The reason being that there are a ton of people in pain every single day that lives right beside a chiropractic office and they have to know idea how much a good treatment can help.
That is the sign of a failure when it comes to the marketing of a profession. A lot of people depend on their governing body to get out and promote their industry but waiting for other people to take action is usually a losing bet.
You need to take action! You need to go out there and let the world know. If want to change the world we must first change ourselves. There are no shortcuts or ways to get around this.
Teaming up with other sports medicine providers to go out and educate at schools and educate at tournaments is only going to create the world where more people are looking for treatment. Everyone wins. Therapists like yourself make more money, and the world feels better.
The sports medicine industry is a hidden gem. Ready to explode due to the masses ignorance on how to take care of their body. I think that being healthy should be a lot easier than it currently is. I won’t stop until we make it easier.