ACBSP President’s Message from Joseph M. Horrigan, DC, DACBSP®

This is an interesting time to be in health care.  We watch one health care plan after another be proposed and we wait to see what will be the final, or next to final, health care plan.  We also want to know what the ACBSP certifications mean in this changing healthcare landscape. 

It has been a very busy time for the ACBSP.  The ACBSP home office has expanded its staff so the ACBSP can plan and prepare for the future of sports medicine, health care, education, examination validation, and symposia development.  The ACBSP is strong and is prepared to meet the challenges of the future and what this means to our certificants. 

As ACBSP certificants know, numerous states have revoked chiropractor’s ability to diagnose and manage concussions.  The argument for revocation of this scope of practice right has been that chiropractors don’t have sufficient education and training in the diagnosis and management of concussions.   However, Alaska, Washington, Arizona, Ohio, and Colorado* have reversed this position for the CCSP and DACBSP.  The reason for this reversal is the ACBSP certificants can demonstrate education and training with the diagnosis and management of concussions, have verified this knowledge through written exams, and confirmed competency through practical exams.    We have waited for 25 years for state senates and assemblies to recognize the fact that the ACBSP certificants have special knowledge when compared to general practice chiropractic. 

What is the solution for the future of our profession with regard to concussion?  It appears to me that the solution is quite simple, but the action will not be quite so simple.  If we are accused of not having the education and training in our profession as a whole, then the solution is we need to improve our education.   One chiropractic institution will soon be establishing concussion education and training in a threaded path throughout the entire chiropractic education curriculum.  Chiropractic students will have concussion education in at least five courses including learning about the neurometabolic cascade in their neurophysiology classes.  The pre-clinic practical exams will include a standalone concussion station to demonstrate competency in the diagnosis of a concussion.  Clinicians, who supervise chiropractic interns at some chiropractic educational institutions, will be required to engage the ACBSP Concussion Registry.

The ACBSP Concussion Registry (ACR) is hosted by the ACBSP on its website (  The ACR requires a healthcare professional to read the online material of current concussion knowledge.  The most recent International Consensus on Concussion in Sport as well as other published journal literature supports this knowledge.  Once this material is read, the healthcare professional will then take an exam through the ACR.  Upon the successful completion of the examination, the healthcare provider will be listed on the Concussion Registry for a two-year duration.  After two years, this process will need to be repeated, as there will be new published knowledge and understanding of the diagnosis and management of concussions. 

The ACBSP Board of Directors voted to further support concussion education by permitting chiropractic interns of all institutions to engage the ACR.  This will allow interns who are seeing patients to demonstrate their knowledge of current concussion diagnosis and management.  Chiropractic interns will be permitted to participate at a 50% fee reduction for one-time, two-year registry participation.  After this two-year registry participation, the interns will be doctors and will incur the same full ACR registration fee that all healthcare providers incur for the ACR.

The ACBSP Concussion Registration has received recognition as well.  In the state of Ohio, a DACBSP can diagnosis and manage concussions.  A CCSP can do the same but only if he/she is also listed on the ACBSP Concussion Registry. 

Communication is occurring with multiple chiropractic educational institutions to join the effort to develop a threaded concussion education in DC curricula.  The goal is to make the change in concussion education nationwide in chiropractic educational institutions. 

Similar efforts are also taking place with a threaded cardiac exam education and training throughout the DC curriculum.  The purpose of this increased education and training is also to overcome the criticism that DC’s are not capable of identifying cardiac pathologies that necessitate a referral to a cardiologist.  This further developed skill also helps to address the criticism we routinely encounter regarding Pre-Participation Physical Exams. 

The ACBSP is developing a quarterly e-newsletter to keep its certificants informed regarding changes in legislation of concussions, PPE’s, related healthcare plan information, the upcoming symposia, opportunities, and news of various certificants around the country. 

Research presented at the ACBSP Sports Science Symposia over many years have revealed both increased billing and increased income by ACBSP certificants when compared to the general practice chiropractor.  We don’t know if the certification and the confidence it generates is the key factor for these findings, or if those who seek certification are highly motivated doctors.  It is most likely a combination of both factors. 

As I noted, it has been a busy year so far for the ACBSP.  Please watch for an e-newsletter in the near future.  The ACBSP Board of Directors, Written Examination Committee, Practical Examination Committee, Position Statement Committee and the Administrative Staff hope to see you at the 2018 ACBSP Chiropractic Science Symposium in San Diego from April 13-15th

*Colorado is in the early stage of making statewide change with the DACBSP with concussion management