Responsibilities of the Team Physician

American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons pic
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Image: aaos.org

The chair of the Department of Orthopaedics within the University of Virginia Health System, Dr. Bobby Chhabra builds on diverse experience in treating sports injuries. A faculty member in the University of Virginia’s Sports Medicine Fellowship and Primary Care Sports Medicine programs, Dr. Bobby Chhabra also serves as the Hand and Upper Extremity Consultant and a team physician for the University of Virginia’s athletics department.

In athletics, a team physician is responsible for coordinating and overseeing athletes’ medical care. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), this individual must first hold licensure as a medical or osteopathic doctor.

The team physician should have particular expertise in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, as well as in addressing other medical needs commonly faced by athletes. This comprises a strong working knowledge of emergency procedures commonly performed on the field, including those recommended for concussion and spinal injuries. Board certification in orthopaedic surgery is a strong indicator of such expertise.

The team physician must also possess an attitude of collaboration and willingness to contribute. The physician must be able to work closely with the athletic trainer, who understands the needs of each athlete. However, the team physician should also take care to build his or her own relationships with the athletes, and to learn not only each player’s name and role, but also each person’s unique medical needs.

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