College of Chiropractic Commencement Ceremony

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An Athlete Training Athletes: Dr. Joel Dekanich

Whether competing as an Ironman himself or treating high-level and professional athletes on and off the field, Joel Dekanich, DC, FNP-C, MSN, MS (’13), DACBSP, CSCS has a deep love for sports―a passion he found at a young age as a competitive athlete and then years later propelled into a successful career as a sports chiropractor.

A 1994 graduate of Palmer College, Dr. Dekanich is the founder and director of Vail Integrative Medical Group (VMG) in Vail, Colorado, a nationally renowned clinic specializing in a comprehensive ‘team’ approach to sports and spinal injuries. The multidisciplinary clinic offers chiropractic, physical therapy, pain management, massage therapy and more, with the various medical providers working together for the greater good of the patient.

“It takes an athlete to know an athlete,” Dr. Dekanich said. “Over my years of training and doing high-level activities like Ironmans and ultra-marathons, I know the dedication it takes to be a high-level athlete and can resonate with patients.”

The ultimate goal at VMG is to return patients to an active lifestyle as quickly as possible, while simultaneously empowering them with techniques to prevent future problems. In an effort to continue to provide that high-level care and understanding that VMG was founded on, Dr. Dekanich returned to school and earned his Master’s in Sports Science and Rehabilitation from Logan in 2013.

“As a sports chiropractor working in high-level sports, you need to be well-rounded,” Dr. Dekanich said, “not just from a chiropractic perspective, but also in working with other allied disciplines such as medical, physical therapy, massage, you name it. And Logan’s program is well-rounded for a number of different perspectives.”

Knowledge gained at Logan allowed Dr. Dekanich to differentiate himself as a provider, which he says has been invaluable in the success of his practice. He is not only grateful to Logan for helping further expand his skills but truly understands the value continued education has had on his career.

His experiences and successes have led him to the some of the highest stages in sports. Dr. Dekanich was the only sports chiropractor on Team USA Track & Field’s medical staff at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He is currently part of the Professional Golf Association medical/chiropractic staff, and has been on the medical staff with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Track & Field team for the 2011 ParaPan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and 2017 World Championships in London, in addition to volunteering with the USOC medical staff at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co., in preparation for the 2008 summer Games in Beijing.

“The sports chiropractors and mentors before me have paved the way for my opportunities and there is a high utilization of chiropractic at many of these events,” Dr. Dekanich said. “Chiropractors should be proud and encouraged by that fact and we should never stop learning and expanding.”