Marketplace: Park City neurologist aims to help athletes reach their peak
Jake Shores always wanted a career that would allow him to positively impact others’ lives. After helping a junior hockey player make it to the National Hockey League, an injured Olympian compete in the Olympic Games and a 65-year-old be able to throw weights around the gym again, he said he has found his calling.
In June, Shores opened Neuro-Performance Integration in Park City, a clinic that specializes in improving brain function to boost all-around performance. He is currently seeing patients out of two Park City locations at 1790 Sun Peak Dr. and 1776 Park Ave.
Shores’ passion to make a difference in the world led him to consider a career in the medical field at an early age. He was on the path to medical school while working at a pharmacy delivering medication when he changed his mind. There, he said he saw some of the negative impacts of prescription drugs and was turned off to the field of medicine.
He then went to school to become a chiropractor. He enjoyed the work, but said he felt disconnected with his peers in the program. While they focused on the importance of aligning the spine, Shores paid attention to the connection of the brain and the body.
“I started studying neurology, and that’s when all of the answers came,” he said.
He finished his chiropractic studies, but found his niche training with functional neurology instructors. For his two-year residency, he worked in neurology with professional athletes in Atlanta. Then, he went to Dallas, where he ran a neurological rehabilitation center. He said he worked with military veterans, studying and helping heal those with post-traumatic stress disorder and head injuries.
He said he also worked with professional football, hockey, soccer and basketball players, as well as special operations soldiers.
While working with athletes, he was hired to help a skeleton athlete who had qualified for the 2014 Olympic Games but had a traumatic brain injury, he said. For nearly two months, Shores helped her recover and she almost medaled.
“The turnaround she had from there was pretty radical,” he said.
He then volunteered with the bobsled and skeleton team and met his now fiancé, Picabo Street, a former Olympian in downhill skiing who lives in Park City. In 2016, He moved to Park City to be with her.
But Park City has proven to be a good move, he said. The amount of athletes who not only live in Park City, but train here made it so he could easily continue his work. He laid all the groundwork to launch his own clinic and, in June, opened the doors.
He specializes in helping people with traumatic brain injuries, as well as athletes who want to increase their performance or prevent injury. He uses an evaluation method that tests dynamic movement, vision and balance. Through neurological exercises and traditional chiropractic methods, he said he helps people restore their health and athletes improve their reflexes and reaction time.
“At an elite level, a 100th of a second means everything,” he said. “It can mean a seven-figure income versus not. It can mean getting hit versus not. It makes a huge difference.”
Shores said seeing those successes in athletes or people who have struggled has been fulfilling work. One memorable patient was a mom who had a concussion and was not able to easily play with her kids. Every time she bent down and stood up, she would get a headache.
“The only thing she wanted to do was to play with her little girl, and that was just really, really satisfying to be able to help her accomplish,” he said.
He hopes to continue to make “a positive difference in people’s lives” in Park City, and, one day, open a facility of his own to treat patients of all athletic levels.
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