By Devin Yanez Griffith
Special to Ropers Sports News
Melody Beattie once said, “Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
This sense of gratitude and appreciation has been a center trait in owner and chiropractor of Lemire Chiropractic Spine & Sport, Dr. Brett Lemire’s life. Specifically, Dr. Brett’s gratitude has led him to his career as a chiropractor and more importantly, has given him strength throughout his challenges in life.
Before becoming involved in chiropractic, Dr. Brett began his journey in the workforce as a women’s swim coach at Chico State University. However, when Title Nine (a federal civil rights law that ensures an equal number of male and female sports) passed, Dr. Brett began to ponder his career decision, he said.
“[Title Nine] meant that swim coaching jobs were going to be few and far between,” Dr. Brett said. “I could see the writing on the wall and that’s when I knew I needed a new vocation.”
When looking at a new career, Dr. Brett said he was drawn towards chiropractic. He swam collegiately for Chico State University in Chico, Calif. and had seen a chiropractor many times to alleviate his pain, he said. However, there was one experience outside of the swimming pool that initially began his relationship with chiropractic.
“Believe it or not, a gal was up on my shoulders at a Beach Boys concert,” Dr. Brett said. “She was going to fall so I lost my balance and injured myself. Looking back, it was a heck of a story.
“I had a good experience with a chiropractor afterwards,” Dr. Brett said. “Two visits later and my back pain was almost entirely gone and that stuck in the back of my mind. When the coaching kind of dried up, that’s when I decided I wanted to give chiropractic a try.”
Dr. Brett took weekend courses in order to complete additional classes after changing his major and following his graduation, he began working with his brother, Mark, at his clinic in Elk Grove, Calif., Dr. Brett said.
Two years later, Dr. Brett’s wife, Nancy, joined both brothers and the clinic. Fast forward another two years and the couple bought the clinic from his brother.
However, life seemed to take an abrupt turn for the worst. In 2008, Dr. Brett was diagnosed with tongue and tonsil cancer, bringing his career to a halt, he said.
“I was very busy back in the mid-nineties to 2005,” Dr. Brett said. “I was working all the time, treating the Sacramento Ballet as well as professional athletes. “The candle was burnt at both ends and honestly I think it lowered my immune system,” Dr. Brett said. “I got my symptoms checked out and sure enough, there was a cancerous tumor in my tongue and tonsil area.”
Dr. Brett’s brother, Dr. Mark Lemire, noted how difficult the situation was not only for Dr. Brett, but their families as well.
“It was a collective kick in the gut for our family,” Mark Lemire said. “We have a very close family with seven kids, but it was a shock when it happened to our youngest brother, who lived a very healthy lifestyle.”
During this time, Dr. Brett’s wife and two other fellow chiropractors continued to work while Dr. Brett was in treatment, Mark Lemire said.
“His strength came from his spiritual strength as a Christian.” Mark Lemire said. “Even though he was going through this brutal radiation regimen, he maintained a workout regimen and just put in whatever he could to his everyday routine.”
Dr. Brett faced multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment with his family supporting him each step of the way, Mark Lemire said.
“My sister went to every chemotherapy appointment with him,” Mark Lemire said. “You know, whenever he needed help, my mother would also be there.
“We kind of huddled together quite a bit as a family to figure out how to support him,” Mark Lemire said. “You have to be mentally tough to get through that. Your chances of survival are less when you don’t have that kind of support.”
Dr. Brett won his battle with cancer and returned to work in late March of the following year, Mark Lemire said. Dr. Brett began working again with Nancy, their two employees and regular clients that had patiently waited for his return, Mark Lemire added.
Currently, Dr. Brett is still working with a variety of clients, ranging from people who simply need chiropractic work to professional athletes, including professional swimmer Michael Phelps and five-time NFR qualifier and 2019 World Champion Bareback Rider, Clayton Biglow.
Bob Feist, rodeo commentator and Ropers Sports News (the original team roping publication founded in 1968) publisher, has had firsthand experience watching Dr. Brett step into the rodeo world.
“When Dr. Brett worked with Biglow, he came to the NFR (professional rodeos Super Bowl/World Series),” Feist said. “He was a complete novice regarding rodeo competition when he first came in 2018, but has since become very knowledgeable.
“He began to relate what athletes were actually doing in competition and how they obtained the injury,” Feist added. “It helped him become better at figuring out what they could do to become stronger and overcome any further injuries.”
Dr. Brett actually worked with Biglow and attended the 2019 NFR in order to work with him; the same year that Biglow won the world title, Feist said.
Feist has also personally worked with Dr. Brett to alleviate his own injuries, he said.
“[Dr. Brett] has worked on mostly my shoulder and neck,” Feist said. “I also had a stroke and he helped me immensely with things like my balance.”
Not only has Dr. Brett helped rodeo athletes get back on their feet, but he has also helped introduce one in particular to the world of chiropractic.
Tanner Haislip, a team roper and student at Palmer College of Chiropractic, first began as one of Dr. Brett’s clients and is now shadowing him at his office.
“I played sports as a kid and ended up needing a chiropractor,” Haislip said. “I’ve been going to [Lemire] for the last 10 or 11 years. Now working with him, I instantly see people walking out of his office feeling better.”
Haislip has worked with Lemire for two years with the future goal of becoming a chiropractor himself. While Dr. Brett has proven to be an excellent chiropractor, he has been proven to be just as skilled when it comes to teaching, Haislip added.
“He had me hands-on-working, palpating and feeling patients,” Haislip said. “He takes the time to explain what is going on, what the problem is and how we’re going to fix it.”
Tanner is not the only Haislip Dr. Brett has worked with. He has also worked extensively with Tanner’s father, Jim Haislip.
Jim Haislip and his late wife, Ruth, developed a three-man veterinary clinic, while they continued to train rope and barrel horses, he said. With Ruth, a three-time NFR qualifying barrel racer, and Jim Haislip, a competitive team roper, they were known to visit Dr. Brett’s office more than a time or two, Jim Haislip said.
“I’ve been seeing [Brett Lemire] for somewhere close to 20 years,” Jim Haislip said. “I got in a major roping accident and he helped me rehab from that.”
Jim Haislip has continued to seek Dr. Brett’s help time and time again due to his attention to detail and interesting background, Jim said.
“He just understands athletes,” Jim Haislip said. “Not just an athlete, but all aspects of it. He just knows how to make people feel better when they walk out of that door.”
When asked what makes Dr. Brett enjoy his job, his answer is simple. “I just like working with a body, you know, assessing people,” Dr. Brett said. “It’s a really rewarding feeling to make a human connection.”
As Dr. Brett stated, it’s people who have supported him throughout his work in chiropractic and who have more importantly, stood through his most difficult challenges in life.
“[The human connection] makes you feel good,” Dr. Brett said. “It makes you feel grateful.”