Team Physicians Deal With Unique Concerns From Players and Team Owners

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Orthopedic surgeons who are also team physicians must treat players appropriately so they can return-to-play amongst pressure from team managers to return the players quickly, according to an article published in the Boston Globe.

Boston Red Sox player Adrian Gonzalez's agent recently questioned whether the team physicians, including head team physician Thomas J. Gill, MD, chief of sports medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, would pay more attention to the players or the team owners in the event of an injury. Mr. Gonzalez recently pursued a long-term contract extension with the Red Sox.

"I know in the past there may have been a perception of an inherent conflict of interest because of the feeling that a physician retained by the team might have the team's best interest at heart," Dr. Gill said in the report. "But as long as I've been a team physician, there has never been a conflict of interest for one simple reason: Whether you're the CEO of Gillette, a laborer on the street or a professional athlete, we treat every patient absolutely the same way."

Baseball players are able to receive second and third opinions from physicians outside of their team physicians through collective bargaining efforts. The Major League Baseball commissioner can also prevent teams for forcing players to undergo surgery by team physicians against their wishes, according to the report.

Read the Boston Globe report on team physicians.

Read other coverage on team physicians:

- 68 Physicians for MLB Teams

- Oakland A's Pitcher Files Medical Negligence Suit Against Team Physician

- Two Cincinnati Bengals Team Physicians Relinquish Responsibilities

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