Sports medicine pioneer Dr. Joseph Torg dies at 88


Orthopedic surgeon Joseph Torg, MD, died Dec. 15 at the age of 88, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Dec. 30.

Dr. Torg died following a chronic illness, the report said. He was a team physician for the Philadelphia Flyers, Sixers and Eagles and was known as a "father of sports medicine."

His career focused on impriving athlete safety. He co-founded the Temple University Center for Sports Medicine and Science in and established one of the first sports medicine fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia. Dr. Torg's research led high school and college football groups to ban "spearing," and the number of student players who suffered paralysis dropped. Dr. Torg also popularized the Lachman test for evaluating ACL injuries. 

"I give tremendous thanks to him for establishing a field," Michael Ciccotti, MD, sports medicine director at Philadelphia-based Rothman Orthopaedic Institute said in the report. "He absolutely left his fingerprint on the field of sports medicine."

Along with his medical work in sports, Dr. Torg testified in support of including girls in Little League.

Dr. Torg is survived by his wife, three children and seven grandchildren. In 2018, Dr. Torg and his wife, Barbara, established a scholarship for medical students at Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

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