Chiropractic students invited to train at Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy

National program helps chiropractors help athletes avoid injury while optimizing their performance

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Classes at the University of Bridgeport are resuming for the fall semester, but for a select group of students from the College of Chiropractic (UBCC), learning never stopped.

In July, four UBCC students traveled to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, to assist with injury-prevention testing for 300 of the nation’s top middle and high school football players.

UBCC Students at Pro Football Hall of Fame
UBCC students Brent Chuma, Brett Poniros, Celeste Holder, and Michael Simeoli at the Professional Football Hall of Fame, where they conducted injury-prevention testing for some of the country’s top middle and high school football players.

Brent Chuma, Celeste Holder, Brett Poniros, and Michael Simeoli—UBCC undergraduates who are focusing on sports-related chiropractic care—were invited to attended the academy by alumnus Donald Shrump DC ’17. Shrump is owner of NJ Shore Fit and involved in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy.

Students’ expenses were covered by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

During the July 7-12 workshop, called Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy, the four UBCC students guided players through performance tests that identify faulty movement patterns, which in turn put athletes at higher risk of injury. Tests included a 40-yard dash with a 10-meter sprinting gait analysis, the 5-10-5 pro-agility test in conjunction with an external stimulus to examine reaction time, a so-called Drift Protocol Test to identify athletic asymmetries, and a Man in the Box Test, which tests for true agility.

Back on campus, the UBCC group is now analyzing data they collected in order to create personalized reports for each of the 300 players they studied. Reports will include suggested treatment and training options to help reduce the risk for preventable injuries.

“It was a fantastic opportunity,” said Brent Chuma, who is currently in his third semester at UBCC. “I want to treat athletes to reduce their risk of injury and supplement that with training in order to help them optimize their performance and reduce their risk of injury.”

UBCC Dean Michael Ciolfi, DC, MBA, DBA, called Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy “a perfect complement” to sports-focused chiropractic training that some chiropractic students opt to take at the Human Performance Lab, located on the UB campus in Eleanor Dana Hall.

That lab is equipped with specialized equipment, such as the OptoJump and OptiGait analysis systems as well as the Witty SEM lighting system, which allows for in-depth analysis of athletes’ true agility and brain function. The equipment also enables chiropractic students to identify indicators that may put athletes at increased risk for injury, such as asymmetry, loss of balance, poor timing and coordination, and even impaired cognitive function. Athletes who lose any combination of these markers for physical performance are at increased risk for athletic injury.

“The Human Performance Lab allows young chiropractic students to dive deeper into the world of biomechanics and sport science,” Ciolfi said. “And both programs provide real, hands-on education for UBCC students to learn about proper movement mechanics and muscle function. In doing this, we hope to create a population of sports healthcare practitioners who will continue to shift the paradigm of athletic injury toward one centered on preventative sports medicine.”

Concluded Ciolfi: “We’re proud of the initiative our students have shown to study the importance of injury prevention and apply their training as student doctors to help so many young athletes.”

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu

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