Dr. Clayton Skaggs – The Newest Member of Team McIlroy

Bernie McGuire

Rory McIlroy talks with performance coach Clayton Skaggs during a practice round prior to the Masters (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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There is a new member in Team McIlroy. Dr. Clayton Skaggs was photographed walking with McIlroy during a practice round ahead of his winning of the Players Championship title and Skaggs has arrived at Augusta National to meet up with McIlroy at this week’s Masters too.

McIlroy referenced Skaggs when talking of the three ‘P’s’ he’s working on- perspective, persistence and poise but who is the man McIlroy has entrusted with getting inside his head?

In the early 1990s, Dr. Skaggs established a private practice in St. Louis, Missouri. While he was helping patients and working as a post-doctoral instructor to chiropractic physicians, dentists and physical therapists, he knew he needed to expand what he was doing for patients and that exercise and nutrition were missing links.

A major turning point in his career came when he attended a workshop in Peoria, Illinois where Dr. Vladimir Janda, a neurologist from Prague was lecturing on rehabilitation. Dr. Skaggs often cites Dr. Janda as “blending art and science to the procedures and applications of traditional orthopaedics and rehabilitation.”

Over the next 10 years, Dr. Skaggs was on eight university-based post-doctoral faculties, including Clinical Research Professor at Logan University and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Jim George joined the practice located in Clayton (then known as Clayton Physical Medicine) first as a student, then intern, then associate. He is now the Clinic Director and partner at the location in Kirkwood, Missouri.

During this academic period, Dr. Skaggs and George led a National Institutes of Health (NIH) randomised trial that resulted in publication of one of the largest studies on low back pain in pregnant women. Additionally, they were authors in eight different books and over 20 published papers on sports medicine and rehabilitation.

Following the purpose of creating an institute known throughout the world as a place to go when injured or wanting to improve performance, the Central Institute for Human Performance (CIHP) was formed in the historic J. Milton Turner school building in Kirkwood, Missouri in 2003.

Over the next 10 years, the model and concept of CIHP and the Karel Lewit Clinic expanded. They continued to work with athletes and individuals performing in all walks of life. What emerged was a new purpose. A purpose that came from their clients. They would repeatedly tell them that, “This place changed my life.” As the institute in St. Louis grew, a new idea of expanding the CIHP model beyond St. Louis emerged.

In 2016, CIHP opened a facility on Military Trial in Jupiter, Florida and located just a 5-min drive from McIlroy’s palatial Bears Club home which makes sense why they’ve become friends.

Today, CIHP continues to evolve and expand its reach. As part of its certification and alliance with Prof. Stuart McGill, individuals with back pain come from across the country to seek the team’s care. Prof. McGill is an influential colleague, mentor, and friend of Dr. Skaggs’ and now of CIHP. Dr. McGill and Dr. Skaggs have taught post-doctoral programs and conducted clinical research together for nearly 20 years. Dr. McGill has most recently contributed to the development of our Movement and Behaviour Imprint (MBI).

The philosophy of CIHP is to identify the needs of people who want to improve their health, pain, and/or performance.

CIHP assess to help you discover what you can do to live better, have less pain and perform better.

“We believe everyone can choose to change his or her life. We see it happen every day,” say CIHIP.

“Our distinctive assessments of movements, lifestyle, and individual needs versus focus on the conditions, pain or sport makes our approach unique. The outcome of the assessments is treatment and training with an emphasis on prevention and individual needs versus the latest trends. Teaching individuals about health, pain and performance is essential to our program. It is a simple formula: more knowledge about health equals better health, less pain and more resilience.

“As a result you are capable of responding to stress versus reacting. We prepare you to look two to three plays ahead of problems related to your health and performance.”

+ Thank you to CIHP for much of this background information.


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