Daryl C. Osbahr, MD, is an internationally renowned orthopedic sports medicine surgeon serving as chief of sports medicine at Orlando Health, fellowship director for the Orlando Health Orthopedic Sports Medicine Fellowship, research director for Orlando Health Sports Medicine, and director of the Orlando Health Orthopedic Sports Medicine Residency Education.
Board certified in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, Dr. Osbahr earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He completed an internship in general surgery at Weill Medical College of Cornell University at the New York - Presbyterian Hospital in New York, and an orthopedic surgery residency at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He also completed an orthopedic sports medicine fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, a premier sports medicine program under the guidance of Dr. James Andrews who treats internationally recognized professional athletes.
Dr. Osbahr currently serves as the chief medical director and head orthopedic team physician for a number of local and national sports teams and organizations.
He has particular expertise in treating complex orthopedic sports medicine pathology, including cartilage injuries, meniscal transplantation, multi-ligamentous knee injuries, bone alignment procedures (i.e., osteotomies), shoulder instability with bone loss (i.e., Latarjet procedure), rotator cuff repair with and without graft utilization (i.e., superior capsular reconstruction), hamstring tendon injuries, and ulnar collateral ligament (Tommy John) injuries. He is also trained in the utilization of regenerative therapies, including platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapy.
As this month's healthcare leader, Dr. Osbahr shares with us how to help patients prevent sports injuries no matter their level of performance.
In Other Words......by Daryl C. Osbahr, MD
From pros to the Joes - preventing sports injuries is the priority.
As a team doctor for some of Orlando's most prominent sports teams, including Orlando City Soccer Club, and as an orthopedic consultant to other teams such as the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, USA Baseball, US Soccer, PGA, LPGA and others, I've had the pleasure of working with many of the world's finest athletes - men and women who are at the top of their game.
If these athletes are injured, they can't make a living. So keeping them healthy is the highest priority for me, the athlete, the team, and the fans.
But in addition to working with elite athletes, I also work with amateur athletes and average Joes - the weekend warriors who enjoy running a 5K or playing in a recreational soccer league. Regardless of the level of the athlete, the best way to keep them in the game is to focus on prevention. Over the course of my career as an orthopedic sports medicine doctor, prevention of sports injuries has become my passion and subsequently led to my role as Chair of the Education & Outreach Committee for the internationally renowned STOP Sports Injuries Program. Therefore, I'm constantly asking myself what can we do to keep an injury from ever happening in the first place?
The New England Patriot's Tom Brady has won the Super Bowl a record five times. He's now in his 18th NFL season and this year he has the Patriot's positioned once again for a deep playoff run. With all this success, it's easy to forget the season-ending knee injury Brady suffered in 2008. He rehabbed during the off-season and came back stronger than ever. While much of this can be attributed to Brady's legendary focus and determination, one of the keys to Brady's successful recovery was knowing the many unique characteristics of his own body, his medical history and his overall health - and then developing a rehabilitation and maintenance plan specific to him.
Tom Brady is one thing, but what does this mean for you? Simply put, each athlete is different, and as sports medicine doctors we need to understand everything we can about the individual in order to prevent injuries whenever possible - and then to customize treatments if and when they're needed.
This means all competitive athletes need to be properly screened though appropriate pre-season physicals to not only prevent injuries but also make sure that they have received appropriate recovery from prior activities and injuries. In addition to a thorough medical examination completed by a licensed orthopedic or primary care sports medicine physician, doctors need to ask questions such as:
- What kind of past injuries and illnesses have you had?
- Have you ever had surgery?
- What's your family's medical history? High blood pressure, early cardiac death, cancer, etc.?
- Have you broken a bone or seriously injured a joint, ligament or tendon?
- What's your concussion history?
- Have you ever been admitted to a hospital? If so, why?
And on and on.
The answers to these questions will help the athlete and the doctor get on the same page when it comes to preventing injuries and staying healthy. But even more importantly, this essential early preseason screening can also be the difference between life and death.
We've all heard stories of seemingly healthy athletes collapsing and dying during practice or a game for sometimes preventable reasons. When I read stories like this, my heart obviously breaks for the families and the team. But like most doctors, I want to understand why. Why would someone in peak physical condition die? I'm hopeful that if we ask the right questions and perform the indicated tests beforehand - during an in-depth medical screening - we might be able to prevent this type of terrible outcome.
As a medical director and head orthopedic team physician, I try to create a great relationship with every player to build an environment of trust and respect. The athlete at any level needs to know the biggest part of my job is to keep them healthy, not just get them healthy after an injury.
The athletes need to see their team doctor as a trusted professional who can help them properly prepare for their sport and prevent injuries that could take them off the field and out of the game. For me, being able to do my best for the team comes down to the three "A's": Affability, Ability, and Accessibility.
Affability. Always being pleasant, easy to approach and helpful.
Ability. Having the medical skills and knowledge to develop injury prevention strategies and provide treatments and solutions when injuries occur.
Accessibility. Being available - no matter when or in what circumstances.
While the holiday season is upon us right now, before we know it - spring sports will start up. With single sport specialization and overuse now commonplace at all levels of sports, we are seeing an increasing number of injuries during each season and over the course of the entire year. But this doesn't have to be the reality of modern-day sports. Athletes at all levels - whether the well-known pro or a weekend Joe - should know their bodies and have an understanding of their vulnerabilities before they step onto the field. Along with athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches, agents, teams, and teammates, orthopedic and primary care sports medicine doctors need to continually advocate for the prevention of sports injuries through good practice, communication, and education.
Orthopedic and primary care sports medicine doctors can better help athletes prepare, prevent and keep themselves on the field if proper attention and care are part of the game plan even before the game begins.