Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Peter F. DeLuca

POSTED: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 4:00 AM
Filed Under: Football | Peter F. DeLuca
Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel. (Michael Conroy/AP)

We’re just hours away from the start of NFL free agency. At 4 p.m. today, players without contracts for the 2014 season are free to sign with any team of their choosing. Over the years, free agency has been a mixed bag for the Eagles, yielding franchise players (Ricky Watters, Asante Samuel) and disappointments (Nnamdi Asomugha, Stacy Andrews).

But what goes into deciding which players receive contract offers? Scouting, past performance etc. play a huge role, no doubt, but in today’s NFL general managers want the best chance for return on their investment throughout the life of the contract. To gather that information, Howie Roseman turns to Peter DeLuca, M.D. and the rest of the Eagles’ medical staff.

Dr. DeLuca is an orthopedic surgeon at Rothman Institute and head team physician for the Eagles. He’s been the head team physician for a decade now, and has seen free agents come and go—some with contract offers, and some without. What role does injury history play in that decision?

POSTED: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 5:30 AM

Following Saturday’s game at Wells Fargo Center against the Calgary Flames, the majority of the Flyers will embark on a two-week mid-season break provided by the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

But a handful will head up the turnpike to Newark, N.J. to fly over to compete in those Winter Games, marking the 5th Olympics to include NHL players. Joining those players will be Peter DeLuca, M.D., head orthopedic surgeon for the Flyers and Sports Medicine Specialist at the Rothman Institute. Dr. DeLuca, a Sports Doc panelist, will be overseeing the medical care of all NHL players at the Sochi games, regardless of their national affiliation.

“Our role is to monitor the players’ health, but also to supersede if the player’s country feels he can play, and we feel he cannot,” summarizes Dr. DeLuca.

POSTED: Friday, October 11, 2013, 6:00 AM

My Sundays, in the fall, are spent on the Eagles’ sidelines leading the team of physicians that are charged with insuring the safety of the NFL players. What most people are not aware of is that on Fridays I am on the sidelines of high school football games in South Jersey. The injuries that I see at the professional level are not different from the ones I see for the high school athlete. Evaluating those injuries are a bit more challenging at the high school facilities.

Every stadium in the NFL has x-ray available and there are a few venues that have a MRI to aid in making a rapid diagnosis of a sports-related injury. After reviewing these studies, I feel more confident in making a decision whether or not it is safe for that athlete to return to play in that game. We do not have this diagnostic testing at high school fields.

I was covering Joe Flacco-led Audubon High School football game years ago and a “bullet” from Flacco’s arm struck the finger of a receiver. The player came off the field holding his painful finger and unable the move the already swollen digit. If this occurred at Lincoln Financial Field, I would have sent the player in for an x-ray and if it was negative for a fracture I would allow the player to return if his motion returned and his pain decreased. Unfortunately, I did not have this luxury and I followed the adage, “When in doubt, keep them out.” This particular high school athlete was not happy that I would not allow him to return to play but safety comes first.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 6:00 AM

One significant change in the care of athletes over the last 10 years has been this concept of specialization. When I grew up you typically played football in the fall, basketball/hockey in the winter and baseball in the spring. The summer was spent going on vacation with your family or getting a job to make some cash for the rest of the year.

Now pre-teens and teens are selecting a sport that they excel at and play that sport 12 months a year. There are numerous arguments for this practice that Dr. Joel Fish enumerated in a previous blog such as not lagging behind other athletes in order to compete for a potential scholarship.

  • The median household income in 2011 was $50,000
  • The average cost for college is $43,000/year

A few years ago a friend of my daughter was a star athlete in 3 sports and never had an injury. He decided that he wanted to only play basketball. His family invested thousands of dollars paying for camps and leagues throughout the year for him to participate in his dream sport. That’s when all the injuries began. He had multiple stress fractures, knee sprains, hand fractures, recurrent ankle sprains that left him with unstable ankles and bursitis. It was this experience with this one patient that made me look deeper into this phenomenon of sports specialization.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 10:01 AM

This Wednesday, the Rothman Institute will host The Impact of Sports, a conference that promises to “bring together the brightest minds in sports.” The panel’s goal is to discuss the health, social and economic benefits sports bring to society.

The conference will begin at 7 a.m. at Lincoln Financial Field. The event is sold out, but Sports Doc will offer updates and coverage from the conference.

After a meet-and-greet and breakfast, the event will begin with an address from Michael Ciccotti, M.D., director of Sports Medicine at Rothman Institute and Sports Doc panelist. Dr. Ciccotti will introduce the day’s first speaker, the Honorable Tom Corbett, Governor of Pennsylvania. Governor Corbett will explore the impact sports have at a state level.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 2:14 PM

In late February, the medical staffs of all 32 teams make the annual trek to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. Approximately 335 college football players are invited to the Combine. The players have 15 minute interviews with the coaches and GMs, they participate in various workouts but the most important aspect of the Combine is the medical examinations. The athletes could refuse to workout but they cannot refuse a physical examination.

The players go through a medical and orthopaedic examination. There are six orthopaedic rooms each with 5-6 teams per room. The original Combine was made up of the Eagles, Bears, Lions, Steelers and Dolphins only. The NFL has kept these teams together in the same room and recently added the Texans. The Eagles do not give me a list of players that they are specifically interested in the draft, they want me to exam every player the same because you never know how the draft will progress.

The examinations are spread out over 4 days:

  • Day 1- Offensive Line, Punters and Kickers
  • Day 2- Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Tight Ends and Wide Receivers
  • Day 3- Defensive Line and Linebackers
  • Day 4- Cornerbacks and Safeties.  
POSTED: Friday, February 1, 2013, 9:00 AM

Editor's Note: This is the fourth installment in a series by Peter F. DeLuca, M.D., Head Team Physician for the Eagles, on increasing player safety in football.

It was a cold, damp December night in Seattle. The Eagles were playing the Seahawks on a special Thursday night game. On a punt, Colt Anderson, who was headed for the Pro Bowl as a Special Teams player tried to avoid a block and planted his foot and moved laterally. His foot got stuck in the FieldTurf and he felt a pop in his knee. His physical examination and MRI confirmed a rupture of his ACL. This was the end to a promising season and the beginning of a long, hard road to recovery for Colt.

The Injury and Safety Panel and the NFL recently published a study on specific lower extremity injury rates on Grass and FieldTurf surfaces. (The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2012)  Infill surfaces generally consist of long polyethylene fibers woven on a mat with spaces between the fibers that are filled with rubber particles or a combination of rubber and sand. There are different brand names of these infill surfaces—FieldTurf is just one. There are other examples, like Momentum and AstroTurf.

POSTED: Thursday, January 24, 2013, 10:30 AM
Filed Under: Football | Peter F. DeLuca

Editorial Note: This is the third installment in a series by Peter F. DeLuca, M.D., Head Team Physician for the Eagles, on increasing player safety in football.

I was recently watching a football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. It was 3rd and long and San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick threw a rising pass toward the sideline. Tight end Vernon Davis leapt to make a great catch and as he was turning in mid-air, just before his feet hit the ground the defender drilled his shoulder into the arm holding the ball. Davis dropped the ball and landed hard on his back.

I quickly applauded this “textbook” tackle and defensive move. But my enthusiasm waned when I saw the official reach into his belt and throw that yellow handkerchief. Like any fan, I questioned the call; it wasn’t helmet-to-helmet! But the replay revealed two potential penalties: the defender launched his body and he hit a defenseless receiver.

About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

Robert Senior Sports Doc blog Editor
Alfred Atanda, Jr., M.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Robert Cabry, M.D. Drexel Sports Medicine, Team physician - U.S. Figure Skating, Assoc. Team Physician - Drexel
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Symetrix Sports Performance, athletic trainer at OAA Orthopaedics
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician for the Phillies & St. Joe's
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician - Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon - Flyers
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director - The Center For Sport Psychology, Sports Psychology Consultant - 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Rothman Institute, Team Physician - USA Wrestling, Consultant - Philadelphia Phillies
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer at The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Cassie Haynes, JD, MPH Co-Founder, Trap Door Athletics, CrossFit LI Certified
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician - Drexel, Philadelphia University, Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Jim McCrossin, ATC Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales, Pa.
David Rubenstein, M.D. Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center, Team Orthopedist - Philadelphia 76ers
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute, Athletic Trainer - US Soccer Federation
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