Thirty years old at the time and a left winger for the Calgary Flames, Roberts suffered a neck injury that left him with severe nerve damage and numbness in his arms. Repeated surgeries and rehab had little effect.
“I couldn’t hold a steak knife to cut my food,” he recalls. “My career was over. I was a pretty lost soul.”
But then, after a visit to a sports chiropractor in 1996 to relieve stress and reduce scar tissue in his upper spine and neck, Roberts regained his strength and mobility. He returned to the ice to play professional hockey for another 13 years.
“It saved my life,” says Roberts, who eventually retired from the NHL four years ago. He is now an advocate of chiropractic treatment as a complement to proper nutrition and training techniques — a program offered in his eponymously named Gary Roberts High Performance Centre at the Fitness Institute in North York. His highly regarded fitness and nutrition regimen is customized to his clients, be they elite and junior hockey players or business executives who want to be physically active.
“[Whether] you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, the results are the same — your body gets beaten up,” says Roberts. “Chiropractors have taken sports to a new level.”
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