Many of the doctors at Cary Orthopaedics serve as team physicians for sports teams in the Triangle. It’s a rewarding way to support the community and get to know athletes and their families outside of the medical office. Every year, our practice performs physicals for local high school students, with all medical fees donated back to the athletic departments. Cary Orthopaedics has returned thousands of dollars to each high school through this program.
Role of a sports team physicians
A team physician is a volunteer role that serves the medical needs of the sports team and supports the athletic trainer. Orthopaedic doctors facilitate pre-participation high school physicals, create awareness of injury prevention, reassure athletes and treat injuries on the sidelines, in the training room and in the medical office. When an injury occurs, the physician will evaluate the athlete, assess the severity of the injury, and communicate with the family on the necessary next steps. They’ll answer questions such as:
- Is the patient able to safely go back into the game?
- If the injury is worse, does the patient need to go to the emergency room or can this wait till the next day?
From varsity and JV high school teams to college and professional sports, the athletes we support dedicate so much time and effort to perfecting their craft. Cary Orthopaedics team physicians are passionate about helping them stay healthy and perform at their best level.
As the fall sports season winds down, several of our physicians share stories and impressions about their volunteer work with local athletic programs:
Building long-term relationships in the community
Dr. Brian Szura has been the team physician for both Cardinal Gibbons High School and St. Augustine’s University since 1993, and has also previously worked with professional teams such as the Raleigh Flyers and Carolina Courage. He chose to become a team physician because he has always had a passion for sports and enjoys the interaction with competitive athletes at every level. “The best part is being part of the team and their success as well as the long-term relationships with the athletes, trainers, coaches, and athletic directors in our community.” says Dr. Szura. “While being a team doctor provides a practice-building opportunity, it’s also a significant community service to local teams and athletes, particularly during games and events.”
Fuquay footballer returns to complete the season
Several years ago, a senior at Fuquay Varina High School sustained a displaced clavicle fracture during a football game. He was devasted because he believed his high school career was over. Dr. Mark Curzan, who has been the school’s team physician for 17 years and also worked with the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, treated the athlete and discussed his options with him, his parents and trainer. Together, they decided to proceed with surgical stabilization of the fracture, which allowed the young man to return for the last few games of the season. He was able to end his high school football career on the field with his teammates.
Cutting-edge technology to keep players on the field
As an adolescent and young child, Dr. Douglas Martini loved participating in sports and was first introduced to sports medicine during this time. He finds it especially rewarding to be able to use cutting-edge modalities to restore function to players. “If you truly understand the science of sports medicine with special emphasis on its restorative rehabilitation, you can make informed decisions that help athletes return safely and effectively back to sports, and hopefully quicker,” said Dr. Martini. One of his favorite memories was being the team physician for the Carolina Hurricanes and having his whole family in attendance to celebrate after the game seven win at the Stanley Cup Finals.
The joy of being sports team physicians
Dr. Ted Armour, who holds two North Carolina high school football state championship rings, says of his team physician role: “The ride has been fantastic! I’ve met great kids and watched great coaches in action. It’s been inspiring.” Dr. Armour has reduced dislocated shoulders and broken bones on the field and life-flighted patients in critical situations. He currently serves Middle Creek High School and Athens Drive High School. He has been a team physician for numerous sports teams throughout his career, including Hartford Wolf Pack Hockey, WWE Wrestling, Trinity College Football, UCONN Athletics, Burlington Royals Baseball and Burlington Indians Baseball.
Apex High applauds Dr. Reinke
Dr. Derek Reinke was surprised and a bit embarrassed when he was recognized at Apex High School’s football halftime. Reinke has been a team physician at Apex High for 10 years, and he previously volunteered at Athens Drive High School, as well.
Doctors find being team physicians rewarding
“The most rewarding part of being a team physician for a high school is the relationships you build with the athletic trainers, student athletes and their families,” says Dr. Raymond Carroll, team physician for Holly Springs High School. “Molly Arey is the athletic trainer for Holly Springs, and I have enjoyed working with her and getting to know her on a personal and professional level. I am continually amazed at her dedication to the athletes and students at HSHS. I am thankful for the years that I have spent working with Ms. Arey and her student athletes.”
Read more about our orthopaedic doctors, and check their bios for sports teams they have served.