The Effect of Pre-Competition Chiropractic Manipulation on Athletic Performance for Collegiate Track & Field Athletes

Date of Award

Spring 4-2023

Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Exercise Science



First Advisor

Dr. Brenda Davies



Introduction: Athletes are always looking for ways to be more competitive and gain a competitive edge. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to affect reflexes and increase cortical drive and cortical excitability. This could suggest that a pre-competitive adjustment may enhance athletic performance. However, there have been few studies done to evaluate or support this claim.

Purpose: To quantify the acute effects of pre-competition chiropractic manipulation on the performance of coed collegiate sprinting athletes highlighting changes in reaction time, acceleration, and overall speed.

Methods: A controlled single blind crossover study design with 25 voluntary participants recruited from the Concordia St. Paul Men’s and Women’s track and field sprinting teams will be used. Participants will be excluded from the study if they have any contraindications to receiving chiropractic care, receive regular chiropractic care, or have a recent injury. After a 10-minute warm up, the participants will run in groups of two to record a baseline sprint, recording initial reaction times, speed and acceleration. After, each participant will be randomized into two groups. One group will receive chiropractic adjustments, where the other group will receive no treatment. The two groups will then retest and results will be recorded. The process will be repeated the following week, with participants receiving the opposite treatment, and then repeated again a week later receiving the initial treatment. An ANOVA will be used to compare all the multiple points of the speed, reaction time, and acceleration between baseline, control, and chiropractic manipulations. The alpha value will be p=.05 and mean and standard deviations will be used to report data.

Conclusion: Studies evaluating the effects of chiropractic manipulation on athletic performance are lacking, and many report no statistical significance in the differences between control groups and treatment groups. This could be attributed to sample sizes being small. Future research is indicated with larger participant pools.

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