Who takes care of a hurt NHL player? We do.
Let’s face it — hockey is a contact sport. In the fast-paced world of professional hockey, players often experience a puck slam or a stick to the arm or leg, or their body being slammed into the wall during a game. Some of the injuries may be minor; others require immediate care. No matter the extent of an injury, we’re on the sidelines, ready to provide whatever care is needed.
Since 1997, Washington University orthopedic specialists have served as team physicians for St. Louis Blues hockey. These specialists are the same physicians that patients see at Barnes-Jewish Hospital every day. In fact, at every hockey game, there are at least 11 medical professionals available onsite to treat players. They range from paramedics and athletic trainers to plastic surgeons, primary care specialists, chiropractors, and dentists as well as orthopedic specialists. They are coordinated by Rick Wright, MD, Washington University sports medicine specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and head team physician for the St. Louis Blues.
“Hockey is definitely a contact sport and there are typically several issues to address during each game,” says Dr. Wright. “We work directly with the athletic trainers for the St. Louis Blues and often have to make in-game decisions about a player’s ability to continue play following an injury.”
The long-standing relationship between Washington University physicians at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and professional and college sports teams in the region enables the orthopedic specialists here to pass along best practices in helping all patients recover from injuries.
“The lessons we learn in speeding the recovery of elite athletes who have experienced an injury translate directly into how we can assist any patient, even those who may not be high-level athletes,” explains Dr. Wright. “The right treatment at the right time will allow anyone, from a weekend warrior to a child or elderly patient, recover rapidly from an injury. Each treatment plan, therefore, is individualized to the patient and their level of activity to optimize their recovery.”
For the St. Louis Blues, the medical team skillfully balances an athlete’s competitive desire to keep playing with an eye toward health and safety. “The outstanding medical care provided by all the specialists of Barnes-Jewish Hospital allows our players to safely return to the competitive level of the NHL in a timely manner. Their expertise is second to none,” says Ray Barile, head athletic trainer for the St. Louis Blues.
Sports medicine specialists at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Orthopedic Center are dedicated to providing the highest level of care to athletes of all ages and abilities. To be treated like a pro, visit BarnesJewish.org or call 844-STL-BLUE (844-785-2583) to schedule an appointment.