Meet The NFL's (Very, Very Brave) Acupuncturist


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Does this look like a man you'd like to stick a needle in?

Doctor James Andrews might be the dude all the NFL players see AFTER they get hurt, but there’s another popular specialist that helps get pro footballers back on their feat after taking a pounding each week. That’s right. Say hello to Lisa Ripi, the NFL’s unofficial official acupuncturist.

The New York Times profiled Ripi, who lists James Harrison, Osi Umenyiora, and Darrelle Revis, among others, as her regular clients, Monday. And, apparently this acupuncture stuff is serious business for the NFL’s heaviest hitters. Nothing like you see in the commercials. Especially not this commercial.

The story goes that Ripi got her start as an acupuncturist to the stars when she met Woody Harrelson on a trip to Costa Rica, which led to her treating other stars, like Mariah Carey. No word on if Ripi made the jump to sports by treating Harrelson after his hoop sessions while filming “White Men Can’t Jump.” But we like to think that had a lot to do with it.

In 1998, Ripi started working on former Jets player Jumbo Elliott. Now, she treats 40 players on the Jets, Giants, Steelers, Bengals and Dolphins. As far as we know, Snowflake and Fireman Ed are not clients. Though Ed could probably do with a bit of relaxation.

She devotes one day a week to each city. Pittsburgh gets Thursday and at least 10 players hold a men’s “spa night” and yes, we’re quoting right from the article there, at James Farrior’s house where they all receive their treatments. We know it’s all pain healing and football and macho and stuff, but we still can’t get this image out of our heads when we hear spa night.

According to the story, Ripi says that lots of teams and athletes in all sports will use acupuncture in the future. Does this mean more injury-free athletes? Should Dr. Andrews start training for a backup career, perhaps in the food service industry? Maybe not.