Dr. Sandell Repairs the Pros
The NFL may have been in a state of flux for a chunk of the summer with the lockout, but that doesn’t mean players aren't staying sharp. The Larry Fitzgerald Jr. NFL Football Camp was in full force at Bierman Football Complex at the University of Minnesota throughout most of July. Since it’s a camp for select pros started by Fitzgerald, an All-Pro wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, it’s fair to say he chose a man he trusts to look after the health of its elite participants.
That man is none other than Dr. Josh Sandell of the Spine and Sports Institute, with locations in Maple Grove and Eden Prairie. Sandell met Fitzgerald, a former high school star at Academy of Holy Angels, when he started treating him about four years ago. The 6-foot-3, 226 lb. receiver was suffering from a chronic hamstring strain, so his trainer referred him to Sandell. “We fixed him,” Sandell fondly recalls.
That’s what he does. Mechanists fix machines. Sandell, a licensed chiropractor, fixes people—and not just any people. Fitgerald’s camp, which started about five years ago, has hosted high-profile names such as Jermichael Finley, Sydney Rice, Tarvaris Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings, Lee Evans, Bobby Ingram and Wayzata alum James Laurinaitis. Those players get coached by former NFL greats like Chris Carter, Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice.
Sandell is humbled but not phased. “It’s fun to work with athletes whose career is dependent on their health,” says Sandell, who works with several other pro athletes outside of the camp. “I started the clinic with one patient, one athlete at a time, taking care of them to keep their short-and long-term needs in mind.”
Sandell has built trust with many high-profile athletes over a long period of time. Eric Decker, a former Gopher and current Denver Broncos wide receiver, has worked with Sandell since his prep days at Rocori High School.
“He’s helped me stay healthy throughout my career,” Decker says. “He’s helped me build knowledge about my body to keep me healthy and prolong my career.”
While some players have a local connection with Sandell, others have traveled a significant distance to take advantage of his expertise in sports medicine.
“If you have a nagging injury – he’s the man to fix it,” says Laurent Robinson, a receiver for the St. Louis Rams. “It’s crazy – I’m coming back all the way from Florida to get fixed.”
Sandell’s talents have also taken him to great distances. He was chosen as the official Team USA sports medicine doctor at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. His list of patients includes over a hundred professional and Olympic athletes from around the country and the world.
What makes Sandell such a popular draw is a specialized approach to patient care that integrates all disciplines of strength as well as an “understanding that injuries are multi-dimensional.”
“With that in mind, if you approach it from one dimension, you only address the symptoms; not the long-term recovery,” Sandell explains. “Through that understanding, I’ve expanded my research and clinical tools to include physiotherapy, medicine, massage therapy, and through understanding those disciplines, I’ve developed treatment paradigms to develop my own procedures.”
And those procedures are fit for the pros.
For more information on Dr. Sandell and his services, visit the Spine and Sports Institute’s website.
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