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Guest post by:
Michael J. Barr, PT, DPT, MSR
Sports Medicine Program Manager
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

As I am standing on the field after the Charleston Battery’s last regular season match of the 2015 season, thousands of fans are rushing the pitch to talk to their favorite players, get autographs, and find their own little spot of grass to watch the post-game firework; the historic moments from this season are running through my thoughts.

We started off the year back in February with the Carolina Challenge Cup which included two new MLS expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City SC in addition to the Houston Dynamo and our Charleston Battery.  The CCC was a great kick-off of the season with international stars (Kaka and David Villa) and US national team players (DaMarcus Beasley, Brek Shea, and Mix Diskerud)  playing on our pitch in-front of sold out crowds.

The Battery then catapulted into the regular season starting with a 5-0-2 record before experiencing their first loss at FC Montreal.  Their outstanding play extended in to the US open cup where we won our first 2 matches and then eventually losing to Orlando City SC in pentalty kicks, however taking the MLS side to a 4-4 draw through regulation and overtime was a feat in its own.

As if having MLS teams coming to Charleston was not enough, it was announced that West Bromwich Albion from the English Premier League, was coming to town to play an exhibition match against our Charleston Battery on July 17th.  The West Brom match was played in front of another sold out crowd and all around was just an amazing event.

July 30, 2015, the Charleston Battery and MUSC Health announced the re-naming of Blackbaud Stadium to MUSC Health Stadium, which was then unveiled at a tough 0-0 draw against FC Montreal on August 1st

So over halfway through the season, the Battery announced a new stadium name, MUSC Health Stadium, has played MLS teams, an EPL team, and is fighting for one of the top 3 places in the eastern conference of the USL.  As we enter our last regular season home match, our fate and playoff position is in our own hands, a win means we finish 3rd and host a first round home playoff match.

The Historic Moments Continue:

In front of a crown of 4,543 at MUSC Health Stadium, the Charleston Battery go into the locker room up 1-0 over the Charlotte Independence at halftime.  At the start of the second half, in the 48th minute, Dane Kelley struck a phenomenal volley, scoring what eventually will be the winning goal of the match.  This was Dane’s 42nd career goal in the USL, putting him at the top of the all-time USL leader board.

The Attendance of 4,543 at MUSC Health Stadium broke the season average home attendance record for the Battery, setting the new record at MUSC Health Stadium to be 4,079 beating the previous record of 3,991, set in 2008.

The WIN, in front of this monumental crowd: increased the Battery’s home unbeaten streak to 24 matches at MUSC Health Stadium; claimed the 2015 Southern Derby Cup;  Solidified our third place regular season finish including hosting a first round home playoff game.

This was my eighth season working with the Charleston Battery as their team Physical Therapist and coordinating all of their sports medicine needs.  With everything that has happened this year, it was definitely a historic season, and one that I will never forget.

However the season is not over yet, there is one more historic feat that needs to be achieved to truly top off this historic season.  The Charleston Battery will start their playoff run, hosting the Richmond Kickers on September 26, 2015 at MUSC Health Stadium; you are not going to want to miss this match!

Shane K. Woolf, MD
Chief, Sports Medicine
Department of Orthopaedics
Medical University of South Carolina

Many people ask about the responsibilities and routine of those of us in sports medicine who serve as ‘team physician’ for high school, college, or even professional level organizations. Some might think of the role as glamorous and exciting. After all, we get to interact and watch the action among the athletes and get All-Access passes to the field/court as well as other restricted areas. Others might not even realize that a physician specializing in the care of athletes is even present at many games. Most of the time, we are quietly at work on the sidelines or in the training room collaborating with the team athletic trainer (AT) and staff.

The MUSC Health Sports Medicine program is composed of 4 sports medicine physicians (3 orthopaedic and 1 primary care) as well as other medical subspecialists, an experienced and talented group of ATs, and sports medicine dedicated physical therapists. We also are fortunate to have a ‘point guard meets quarterback’ program manager who helps to coordinate everything from practice/game coverage schedules to appointments for follow-up visits on injured athletes. This group is the core of what makes up a complete sports medicine program.

What are the Team Physician’s tasks besides providing medical coverage on game day?

The role of the team physician in all of this is more than just providing acute medical care and preventative recommendations to the athletes and coaching staff.

  • Reviewing the team/stadium emergency action plan or EAP (ie what to do in the event of a major on-field injury or a mass injury incident at the site)
  • Staffing team preseason physicals and reviewing medical care plans with the ATs and coaches. The physicals involve screening for potential medical issues such as asthma, heart disease, previous bone and joint injuries that need to be followed or worked up further.
  • Documenting pre-participation physical exams in the athlete’s record
  • Reviewing noteworthy issues to determine whether an athlete is cleared to participate or train
  • Performing physical exams on all new players picked up during the season
  • Exit physical exams for our professional affiliates to document health status of the athletes at the end of the season
  • Review injury updates from our ATs, in some cases with daily reports as we do with the Charleston Battery.
  • Training room visits are also a part of our responsibility when necessary or if an athlete cannot be worked into our regular office hours.

What about game day? What does the Team Physician have to do during the competition?

On game days, the team physician is usually asked to arrive an hour ahead of time to assess potential issues and help the AT prepare for the event. During the game, most of our focus is on what could go wrong or whether the athlete on the ground is injured, not on the action that most spectators are enjoying. The team AT is usually the first medical person to attend to the injured player while the physician evaluates on the sideline or in the training room. Clinical judgment guides whether the player is finished for the event or needs to be transferred to a hospital. In our role with the Women’s Tennis Association Family Circle Cup and the Charleston Battery, additional documentation is needed for an athlete who retires from an event or who has a significant injury. These athletes are professionals, so injuries may necessitate extra documentation for workmen’s compensation and insurance purposes.

What about after time expires?

After the event ends and the crowds leave, the AT and team physician usually spend another hour or so clearing the medical equipment from the field/court and examining lumps, bumps, bruises, headaches, and other medical complaints. The medical staff for the opposing team is met to make sure none of the other players need medical attention. Care plans are coordinated, and then we finally get to go home for the night. Often, this is well past 10-11 PM for evening games. Most events span about 3-4 hours once or occasionally twice per week. We are not paid for that time and typically have regular work duties the next day or attend injury clinics on weekend mornings as well.

So, the daily routine of a team physician involves a lot of extra work and effort beyond our ‘day job’ with very little glitz and glamour. Yet, most of us have been athletes at some point or at least understand the special concerns in caring for athletes whose goals are to stay healthy and remain in competition. We tend to seek out the extra duties of team coverage and want take care of these athletes.

How does a physician get to enjoy the privilege of taking care of a team or a sporting event?

In most instances, special training beyond residency called a fellowship is a starting point, although in many communities, the team physician may not have had such training, but has skills and experience to provide medical and emergency care to athletes. In addition to orthopaedists and primary care sports specialists, some pediatricians and emergency medicine physicians have special interest and experience in the care of athletes. Physicians who complete an additional year of training in orthopaedic or primary care sports medicine and are actively involved in team coverage are then eligible to sit for an examination and achieve a Certificate of Added Qualification from their respective national board organization.  This represents the pinnacle of qualification for team medical coverage.

For national and international competition, such as the Women’s Tennis Association, US Ski and Snowboard team, USA Boxing and others that our physicians affiliate with, additional credentials, references, training, and background checks are required to be able to get that ‘All-Access’ badge and have the opportunity to work with these elite athletes. But the common goals, regardless of the competition level are:

  • Keep the athletes safe from potential injury and medical issues
  • Document and manage the medical issues of each athlete
  • Advocate and educate on the best medical options for each athlete treated
  • Maintain privacy and dignity of the injured athlete
  • Provide high level medical care, often outside of a normal clinic setting
  • Communicate with care-givers, coaches, and other medical staff to optimize treatment and return to play plans
  • Lead in the assessment, management, and stabilization of injury during competition.

This ‘after hours’ responsibility is one in which each of our physicians, as well as all of the other sports medicine team members, excels as we strive to enable MUSC Health Sports Medicine to provide the same world-class care to our athletes that we give to our regular patients every day.

deep brain stimulation imageDeep Brain Stimulation or DBS can be a highly effective therapy for patients in advanced stages of a movement disorder. Patients with movement disorders have dysfunctions in the circuits in the brain that control movement – by placing a small stimulating electrode in these circuits, we can normalize the electrical activity and restore function. Learn more about Deep Brain Stimulation from our Health Library.

Candidates undergo a thorough movement disorder evaluation, followed by neurosurgical and neuropsychological evaluations with experts in the MUSC Health Movement Disorders program. Each patient’s case is reviewed by our full interdisciplinary team to ensure the patient is a good candidate.   

MUSC Health neurologists use highly sophisticated imaging to identify relevant circuit structures. This ensures proper placement of the DBS stimulating electrode through live mapping of the relevant structures and allows for testing and examination prior to permanent placement. Following the surgery, patients are monitored closely by our team to program the device, tailor the stimulation and monitor medications to account for the changes in stimulation. The MUSC Health DBS program has more than 12 years of experience in caring for DBS patients, including many of the most complex cases in the Southeast.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal neurological disorder characterized by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. Often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. It is one of the most devastating of the disorders that affects the function of nerves and muscles, but currently, there is no cure for ALS.

Why We Need Your Help

Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. According to the ALS Association, the average age for the onset of ALS is 55, and life expectancy of an ALS patient averages 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. This crippling disease can strike anyone. Help make a difference and join the Walk to Defeat ALS on October 3. Sign Up to Participate!

At MUSC Health, our neurologists specialize in neuromuscular diseases. Patients with suspected ALS are evaluated in one of our neuromuscular clinics, and those who are diagnosed with ALS are seen and evaluate by highly dedicated professionals, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, dietitians, speech and swallowing professionals, social workers, nurse practitioners, and neurologists. Read inspiring personal stories in our Brain Buzz newsletter.

Guest Post by:
Brittany Darling, MS, ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Sports Medicine

          At any age, we find enjoyment in picking up new sports and activities to help keep us active and entertained. From tennis to mountain biking, and yoga to hiking, or even swimming and dancing; these are all excellent examples of new activities that can easily be started for exercise, health, and overall enjoyment. Personally, I encourage my athletes to take interest in a difference sport or activity that can provide them with a mental break while still being active. The important and sometimes difficult part is to try not to get hurt in the process.

            When thinking of beginning a new sport or exercise routine, it is important to do a little bit of research first. For example: what type of equipment will be necessary and is there a specific type of footwear that is recommended. Hiking in sandals or doing yoga without the yoga mat can be a recipe for disaster. I would recommend either viewing the specific exercise class first, or speaking with someone who has performed or participated the activity before, this way they can provide you with the insight you are looking for. Of course, also be sure to do your adequate research with the internet as well.Beginning yoga

            Once getting started, it is important to not get disheartened early on. What appears to be simple may in actuality by very difficult, and can take some time to get used to. This being said, it is also likely that there can be some soreness in muscles you have never experienced before. Combining these new exercises with proper nutrition and stretching routines will help to keep the body healthy and performing at its full potential. Pushing through some discomfort may be necessary, however it is very important to differentiate between the pain and soreness- yes, there is a difference. Although every individual will have different levels of pain tolerance, I typically describe pain as something that has a debilitating effect on the body so that it is unable to function as it normally would. Also, pain is typically found in one very specific area. Discomfort, or soreness, can be in a more localized area and will not have a severe effect on how your body is moving and functioning. It also may improve with light movement, stretching, and NSAIDs (ibuprofen).  It is imperative that as you progress in your new undertaking that you are careful and aware with how your body is feeling and performing. If at any time pain is felt for a period of time or with specific movements, stop the exercise and seek medical attention from an athletic trainer or orthopedic specialist.


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