Be weary of the team doctors

Football season is here and it’s always my favorite time of year except for the massive amounts of injuries, but they say that’s all part of the game.  You will usually notice that when a player goes down in agony with an injury, there is always a guy that comes out with the trainer and he’s always wearing a suit.  That guy in the suit is the team’s doctor, and wearing the suit helps you to denote that he is, in fact, a pretty big deal!

Don’t get me wrong, some of these doctors are some of the best in the world. One example is James Andrews, the doctor for the Redskins.  Every famous athlete seems to have an appointment with him when they blow something up on their body.

I have often heard that when people come in trying to figure out what is going on with their injuries. These are people who have already seen doctors, PTs and chiros with no real answer about what is going on. They have seen the head of orthopedics at a local hospital, and have even gotten an elusive appointment with the local professional team’s ortho.

I understand people’s thinking when they go to a doctor, because they work on the best athletes in the world. The mindset is if they can work on a high level athlete, then clearly they are the best of the best.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and if you chose simply to go to a doctor “because they work on pro athletes” it could prove to be a disaster choice.

What many people don’t realize is that many of those doctors end up paying for the privilege to be the team doctor, ranging from orthos to PTs to chiropractors. This is all done for marketing purposes to help get people in the door to be treated by the same person the pros go to!

Let’s make this clear: if you have something that has completely blown the hell up and the only option is surgery, then these guys are some of the best to go to.

What are they really bad at?

The in-between stuff where you don’t need surgery, but still have pain and dysfunction.  As I said, they are really good at their job when it comes to fixing something that is completely broken, but if you have an “inconclusive” MRI or you are not a candidate for surgery, then these guys don’t have a clue what to do.

Many of the doctors and heads of surgeries know just about as much about biomechanics of injuries and how to treat them conservatively as the local guy at your gym.

It just isn’t in their realm of training in school; they deal with stuff when it’s really messed up.  So if you are dealing with an injury that doesn’t need a surgical intervention, it is a great idea to not take too seriously the advice of someone just because they are the team doctor, especially if this advice or diagnosis involves bursitis, tendinitis and cortisone shots as shown below: