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Meet John Napier

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John Napier graduating from NYCC
Leaving behind his first love, John Napier (BPS '16, D.C. '19) retired from the bobsled circuit in 2012 and found a new passion in chiropractic. 

Meet John Napier (BPS '16, D.C. '19)

Hometown: Schenectady, NY
Undergrad: studied biochemistry at Florida Southern College; Bachelor of Professional Studies with a major in life sciences, NYCC, now Northeast College

 

Admittedly not a fan of reading books until he was 24, John Napier (BPS '16, D.C. '19) did not take chemistry in high school. He was more interested in his bobsled. His ambitions shifted once he started learning the anatomy and science behind chiropractic, and then he couldn't get enough.

Today he's working full time at Hoffman Chiropractic in Inverness, Florida. Until 2021 Napier was only seeing patients part-time at a practice in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and also privately, nearby his then-home in Lake Placid. At the same time he was also working as a program manager at Mount Van Hoevenberg, venue of the 1931 and 1980 Winter Olympics, where he ran the U.S. Junior Bobsled team and worked with veterans in the Adaptive Sports Foundation's U.S. Para Bobsled program.

Call Me Doc ... or Staff Sgt. ... or Bobsled John

NYCC alumnus John Napier posing with a bobsled
In 2020, John Napier spent three days helping build a 400-bed temporary hospital during the global pandemic, as part of the Vermont National Guard. 

While the evidence-informed, technique-focused curriculum at NYCC, now Northeast College,  prepared him to help patients, the flexibility of a career in chiropractic allowed Napier to pursue his many personal interests. These pursuits all gave him titles in addition to doctor. As a member of the Vermont Army National Guard, he is Staff Sergeant Napier, and on the mountain he's known as "Bobsled John."

Napier's father was a bobsled driver, and his mother was a bobsled brake woman. Learning to drive a bobsled at the age of 8 was like going into the family business, and led to yet another title Napier would ultimately hold: national bobsled champion.

At the age of 15, Napier was recognized as a potential Olympic bobsled athlete and began training at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Between 2004 and 2006 Napier dominated the America's Cup circuit, winning the America's Cup title twice in 4-man and once in 2-man. He won a Bobsleigh World Cup gold medal in 2009 and placed 10th at the 2010 Olympic Games.

Path to Northeast

Napier knew many chiropractors. Two traveled around the world with his bobsled team and it was a friend who studied at NYCC that would later recommend he do the same. However, it wasn't until he was personally treated after pulling three hamstring muscles and injuring his hip in a ski accident that he knew studying chiropractic would be his next step in life.

"I loved my doctor's philosophy of healthcare and helping people in general. He didn't just treat my pain, he treated me and considered my life," Napier said. "As an athlete I was very focused on myself and my performance. I wanted to get back to helping others. I feel the most purposeful and helpful that way. Chiropractic is the tool I have to fulfill that inner purpose."

What Napier really loved about studying at NYCC is that the College's professors are experts in their fields of study, from anatomy and nutrition to microbiology and physiology. To this day, he still stays connected to his former instructors. "They are bringing that knowledge to you to use as a chiropractor," Napier said. "I still pick some of their brains. If something looks suspicious on an x-ray. I will reach right out to Dr. (Chad) Warshel (director of the M.S. Program in Diagnostic Imaging). I never want to miss something and he is top-notch in radiology."

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