The 5th annual Rothman Institute/Philadelphia Phillies Sports Medicine Conference took place Saturday morning at Citizens Bank Park. A sold-out group of physical therapists and certified athletic trainers braved the cold and snow to hear from some of the region’s leaders in treatment of injured athletes.
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D., Sports Doc panelist and director of the Sports Medicine Team at Rothman Institute, also serves as Head Team Physician for the Phillies and led the panel comprised of Rothman Institute physicians and Phillies’ medical staff. Dr. Ciccotti was recently elected president of the Major League Baseball Team Physician Association.
“This conference is a great opportunity for all of us to come together as professionals and share our knowledge about treating injured athletes of all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of ability,” says Dr. Ciccotti.
The early portion of the program, Differential Diagnosis of Common Baseball Injuries, focused on the treatment, repair, and hopeful prevention of elbow, shoulder and knee injuries, as well as a presentation on common sprains and strains. Steven Cohen, M.D., Brad Tucker, M.D. and Robert Frederick, M.D. joined Dr. Ciccotti on a panel that discussed both surgical and non-surgical treatment options for the most common injuries seen in baseball players.
While relatively new, effective surgical techniques were discussed, both attendees and panelists expressed concerns in regards to their viability as options for professional athletes. In discussing one particular knee cartilage restoration technique, Dr. Tucker answered a question by admitting that no matter how effective the procedure proves, some professional athletes will be hesitant due to the amount of play they’d likely miss.
“It’s a question of risk vs. reward—the earning potential of a professional athlete as opposed to missing an entire year of play,” he admits.
Dr. Tucker shared the story of one athlete bound for college on an athletic scholarship who underwent the procedure in question. After rehabbing and returning to play, she injured the opposite knee.
“Following that second surgery, she decided to stop playing the sport competitively,” he reveals. “Her knees were repaired and in great shape following the surgeries, and she opted to play it safe and maintain that [health].”
Dr. Frederick’s presentation included a thorough study of the disabled lists for Major League Baseball teams in 2012. He revealed that when taking into account player salaries and number of games missed, MLB teams lost nearly $500 million in missed time for injured players last season.
Robert Franks, D.O., also a Sports Doc panelist, followed with a presentation on evaluation and rehabilitation of the concussed athlete. Among other observations, Dr. Franks shared some of the latest pharmacological advances in concussion treatment and discussed an often-overlooked aspect of the injury—its impact on schooling.
“When you’re recovering from a concussion, school is not the ideal environment—lots of noise, bright fluorescent lights—not to mention difficulty following a lecture,” he admits. “At the same time, we want to avoid any pattern where students are missing months at a time.”
After a short break, Phillies personnel including Scott Sheridan, M.S., P.T., A.T.C., C.S.C.S., Peter Vitanzo, M.D. and Dong Lien, A.T.C., C.S.C.S., C.A.T.C., M.S. discussed further advances in treating throwing injuries and the processes that will be used for evaluating athletes during the upcoming Spring Training session in Clearwater, Fla.
Panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions wrapped up each group of presentations. After all sessions concluded, attendees were treated to lunch and tours of Citizens Bank Park.