What’s It Like To Be The Team Physician For Georgia Tech?

image from Flickr/ brookenovak

Emory Sports Medicine has a strong reputation for offering top-quality orthopaedic care to athletes and non-athletes alike. Recently, people have asked to hear more about our work with college sports teams. Specifically, Emory just became the “Official Healthcare Provider for Georgia Tech Athletics.”

This new initiative involves my work as Tech’s team physician. People often ask me: What does it mean to be the team physician for Georgia Tech? The short answer: It means you’re busy!

I’ve been taking care of all of the Tech teams on the field for 11 years. I’m in charge of orthopaedic care for all of the athletes at Tech – including the football, basketball, and volleyball teams. I’m on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the athletes. Thus, if something happens to any of my players, the emergency room, coach or player will call me. (This is fine for me, but it gets old for my wife!)

I also attend all football and basketball games, which can get a little crazy. During football season, I fly to the games on game day, then fly back with the team on the team charter. Thursday night games are the most challenging. I operate on patients until mid-afternoon Thursday, and then fly to the game, which typically gets me back home at around 3:00 a.m.

I end up treating a myriad of injuries. The scary ones are the cervical spine injuries on the field because you have to worry about breathing and paralysis. Most commonly, I deal with knee injuries (ACL and MCL tears) and sprains. Head injuries are handled by a non-operative sports medicine physician. One cardinal rule: Do what is best for the athlete for the long term—i.e., treat him as you would your own son or daughter.

Without a doubt, working with the athletes helps my work at Emory Sports Medicine. It allows me to take the cutting-edge, more aggressive techniques I learn from working with college teams, and apply them to everyday patients.

Reward comes with the hard work—every time one of my athletes returns from an injury, it’s a great moment, and it makes all of the hours worth it. Further, seeing these kids move on successfully to the NFL, NBA or professional baseball is great. And seeing them succeed in life is even better.

Do you have any questions about Emory and GA Tech? If so, please feel free to leave me a comment.

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