Washington University and the St. Louis Cardinals have appointed Rick W. Wright, M.D., as the new head team physician. Wright, who has been an assistant team physician with the Cardinals since l998 and covers many of the team’s home games, replaces George A. Paletta Jr., M.D.
Paletta resigned from Washington University to pursue other interests. Wright becomes head team physician immediately in order to ensure that the medical team’s leadership is in place as the Cardinals approach the final third of the regular season schedule.
“As an assistant team physician since the beginning of our relationship with the Cardinals, Rick Wright is immensely qualified and perfectly positioned to oversee medical care for the players. He knows the players’ health situations well and will provide a seamless transition,” said Richard H. Gelberman, M.D., head of orthopaedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “Dr. Wright is a nationally recognized sports medicine specialist and a leading researcher. Drs. Wright and Paletta have worked together with the Cardinals for seven years. We thank George Paletta for his efforts on the team’s behalf throughout this period and for his service to Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and wish him well in his new endeavors.”
Though not a team physician, Paletta will provide some medical services on an occasional basis in order to preserve continuity of care in the near term and a smooth transition.
“George and I have been working together and communicating about the players and their injuries all through this, just to be sure we’re all on the same page for what the players and staff are going to do in the next few weeks,'” Wright said. “This will be a smooth transition, and the plan is for it not to affect the baseball team in any way.”
As head team physician, Wright will have primary responsibility for the players’ medical care and will coordinate services provided by other Washington University physicians, working closely with the Cardinals’ training staff, led by Barry Weinberg, and with Gelberman. Wright’s responsibilities also include managing care of players in the organization’s six-team minor league system.
Wright, also a member of the medical team for the Rams and Blues, is an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and a specialist in sports medicine and minimally invasive (arthroscopic) surgery to repair joint problems involving the shoulder, elbow, knee, foot and ankle. Wright has particularly focused on knee ligament healing and rotator cuff shoulder injuries. He is nationally recognized for his research into accelerating patients’ full recovery from injuries to the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments of the knee (ACL and MCL). Wright is a native of Sikeston, Missouri, and a graduate of University of Missouri School of Medicine. He came to Washington University in August 1994. Prior to that he completed an internship and residency in orthopaedics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a fellowship at the Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center, where he provided care for professional and collegiate athletes. Wright received certification from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery in l996.
Wright, Gelberman and all Washington University faculty physicians serve on the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which are members of BJC HealthCare.
Washington University School of Medicine’s full-time and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare