When Chicago White Sox minor-leaguer Greg Shepard remembers his life-altering sports injury in 2000 where he slammed into the left centerfield wall chasing a fly ball, his words are simple.
“The wall won.”
The next morning, Shepard woke up virtually paralyzed. “I couldn’t lift my body out of bed, turn my head or move my right arm,” says Shepard. Naturally, his wife at the time wanted to rush him to the emergency room straightaway. But Shepard had something else in mind.
“I told her,” he recalls, “to ‘open the telephone book and find me a chiropractor.’”
Although Shepard may not have realized at the time, that decision was a game-changer.
The young athlete was terrified of losing his job from a long absence while he was forced to recover. After his initial visit with a chiropractor, Shepard’s team sent him to a neck-and-spine surgeon for a second opinion. The surgeon recommended surgery to repair the damage in his neck from the collision, but Shepard preferred to stick with his chiropractor.
“Once he set my occiput back into place, my arm started working,” Shepard says. “A few days later, I could turn my head, and my pain level was greatly reduced. I was amazed.”
After that, he never missed a game all season.
Now, the reason Shepard knows that “occiput” refers to the back part of the skull that articulates with the cervical spine is that—after years of coaching and motivational speaking once his baseball career finally ended—Shepard is actually pursuing a dream he kept in the back of his mind ever since the crash. He just finished his first of several years at a chiropractic college, joining the ranks of other athletes like NFL legend Jerry Rice as a big supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
To learn more, visit www.yes2chiropractic.org.
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