Team doctors: Cardinals choose School of Medicine physicians

The St. Louis Cardinals have completed an agreement with University Orthopaedic Surgeons to provide medical services for the Cardinals’ organization.

The agreement will run through 2006.

Morris with Paletta
George A. Paletta, Jr., M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of the department’s Sports Medicine Service, checks out Cardinals staff ace Matt Morris’ pitching arm. — File photo

The sports medicine specialists in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will work together with other School of Medicine physicians to provide comprehensive medical care for players and their families on a daily basis and in emergency situations.

University physicians will also manage the care of players in the Cardinals’ six-team minor-league system.

George A. Paletta Jr., M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of the department’s Sports Medicine Service, will continue to serveas the Cardinals’ head teamphysician.

The St. Louis Rams and Blues also use University physicians as their team doctors.

“In providing care for a professional sports team, our goal is to return injured players to health and their full potential as rapidly as possible,” said Richard H. Gelberman, M.D., the Fred C. Reynolds Professor and head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “Our doctors must provide the highest quality expertise in injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.”

“We consider the Cardinals’ willingness to renew their arrangement with our physicians in general, and with Dr. Paletta in particular, a tribute to the high-quality care that we have been able to provide over the years.”

Because baseball players play almost every day throughout a long season, Paletta said many of their injuries result from repetitive, small traumas as well as stress and strain.

“The most common injuries involve the throwing shoulder and elbow, followed by knee and back injuries,” Paletta said. “As team physicians, we are fortunate to work with great athletic trainers led by head trainer Barry Weinberg and assistant trainer and rehabilitation coordinator Mark O’Neal.

“We work closely with them to treat, rehabilitate and, most importantly, try to prevent injury through appropriate flexibility, strengthening, conditioning and training programs. We also are fortunate to have Drs. Rick Wright and Bob Shively from our department on board.”

The new arrangement between the Cardinals and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery continues a relationship that began in 1998.

“We are proud to have Washington University physicians provide medical services for the St. Louis Cardinals,” said Walt Jocketty, the team’s general manager. “Their expertise in the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries is an important part of the overall success of our team.”