What teams do you currently work with?
Right now, I am the lead team physician (or team doctor) for the Dallas Sidekicks (a professional indoor soccer team) and have been previously a consultant for the Texas Legends NBA D-League team, and the Allen Americans professional hockey team and Cirque du Soleil. Otherwise, I take care of many athletes in general from kids to adult professionals throughout Dallas.
What does being a team doctor entail?
As team doctors we have many roles. I think the public mostly thinks of as the doctors that cover the games. We do provide ongoing medical care before, during and after athletic events, but there are many more responsibilities behind the scenes. We are also involved in injury prevention, selection of the athletic care network and education of the athletes, coaches, and administrators.
What does a typical day look like in the life of a team physician?
We all have our own practices that require our attention on a daily basis, so this doesn’t change much. We often have to adjust our schedules a bit, if we need to work in an injured athlete into our already busy office schedule, or just modifying our surgery schedule to make sure we are done in time to make it to the game. It is unpredictable by nature so being flexible is important.
What type of relationship do you have with the players?
They are really like a second family. It is very satisfying treating them and then watching them be successful. We feel the disappointments with injuries and losses, and happiness when the team does well, and injured players return to play. It is a special relationship a truly enjoy. I keep in contact with many of them even after they are done playing.
What is game day like?
We typically get to the venue well ahead of game time. I will touch base with the trainer to get an update on players with existing injuries or new injuries that have occurred that week. Once the game starts, I am responsible for taking care of any injured athletes on our side and the visitor team.
As team physicians we typically are watching the game through a different lens than a regular spectator. We are keeping a close eye on injuries or potential injuries, how the injuries occurred etc. Often recognizing how the injury happened or what we would say the “mechanism of injury,” tells a lot about potential structures injured, and other factors regarding the injury itself.
During a game, I am also keeping an eye on how previously injured athletes are performing. After the game we again check on the players, perform post-injury evaluations and tidy things up with the trainer to make sure we have a game plan for the upcoming week.
What traits do you believe are important for a team doctor?
- Availability- it is important to be flexible and available for the player and team.
- Easy to get along with – there are many different personalities on a sports team, and we need to relate to all of them, so we can best take care of each athlete.
- Staying educated – Taking care of elite athletes certainly is a challenge and it is a continual learning process.
How much do team doctors get paid?
Nothing! No really, nothing! I don’t know any team doctors that get paid to do this. In fact, many sacrifices have to be made in our own lives in order to dedicate the time and attention that is needed to provide quality care to the team. I know I have missed some of my children’s functions, a few family nights, etc..
Why do you choose to be a team doctor?
I can’t speak for all team doctors, but I know a lot of us choose to dedicate time and energy on this because we truly enjoy the challenge and camaraderie that comes with being a team doctor. Also, many of us (me included) used to be athletes and we enjoy remaining close to sports later in life.
Overall, I am proud to be the Team Physician for the Dallas Sidekicks and can’t wait for the new season to begin soon. If any of you happen to go to the upcoming games in 2019, look for me on the sidelines.