Lessons Learned in the Care of the Professional Athlete.
The role of an experienced Hand Surgery Consultant within the complete care matrix for a professional sports organization has evolved in my 3-decade career. Granted, hand injuries may have been demoted in this population where ACL tears, shoulder dislocations, and Lisfranc injuries seem to have much greater visibility, but our experience has told us that Hand injuries often contribute to the most surgeries per team/per season and can result in significant man-game loss of service. In my 30 years as a Consultant, Team Physician and/or Medical Director in all 4 major North American-based Leagues (as well as for "itinerant" independent contractor sports of golf, tennis, and motorsports), we have cared for well over 2000 athletes. This privilege has provided us with unparalleled exposure to the locker rooms, training rooms, and clubhouses for almost every team in professional-level competition and many elite-level collegiate programs. My goal in assembling this volume was to highlight the skilled and experienced colleagues who have contributed so much to the surgical science of caring for the hand and wrist in the professional athlete and furthering the logic of having a Hand Surgeon on "speed dial" for our fellow Team Physicians who want to provide optimal care for their athletes. Regrettably, until recently, the limited number of us who had significant involvement in this cohort probably fell short of engaging in scientific inquiry and publishing our observations or series. I will accept more than my share of that shortcoming, but as these practices have expanded in number and the exposure went from anecdotal to voluminous, our community started to communicate within Hand Surgery ranks, but now we want to share our knowledge with all professional involved in elite athlete care. This collection is not meant to be an exhaustive review of individual pathologies. Fortunately, valued colleagues have done a laudable job of chronicling the common-to-complex pathologies that we see in sports coverage This publication is styled less from the "what" and "how" standpoint, aimed instead at providing Team Physicians with the "when" and "why" of optimizing their player's outcomes through collaboration with their Hand Specialist.
Published In/Presented At
Graham T. J. (2022). Lessons Learned in the Care of the Professional Athlete. Sports medicine and arthroscopy review, 30(4), 169–174. https://doi.org/10.1097/JSA.0000000000000355
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Surgery