Washington University Physicians chosen as team doctors for Saint Louis Athletica

Washington University Orthopedics has been chosen to provide medical care for players on the new, WPS, Women’s Professional Soccer team, Saint Louis Athletica. The orthopedics group also cares for the St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Rams and other sports teams.

Robert H. Brophy, M.D., a former soccer player and a sports medicine specialist, will serve as head team physician. Brophy, an All-Conference soccer player while an undergraduate at Stanford, relishes his new role.

“Soccer players are obviously at risk for lower extremity injuries, particularly to the knee and ankle,” Brophy says. “Female soccer players are at an elevated risk specifically for injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in the knee, so in working with the Athletica, we will be looking to emphasize injury prevention. When injuries do occur, we want to get players back to peak performance as soon as possible.

Brophy and other Washington University Physicians will manage the care of Athletica players at the Washington University/Barnes-Jewish orthopedic center in Chesterfield as well as at Barnes-Jewish and Barnes-Jewish West County hospitals.

“The team physicians also will work to prevent and treat neck problems and concussions that can occur when heading soccer balls and many other common injuries that can result from tackles and challenges during the course of a game,” says Richard H. Gelberman, M.D., Fred C. Reynolds Professor and head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “We work at the cutting edge of medical therapy, surgery and rehabilitation to return injured players to full health and potential.”

Athletica’s head team physician, Brophy, earned a medical degree from Washington University in 2001. He completed a residency in orthopedic surgery and a fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. He holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and economics from Stanford University.

In addition to his collegiate experience at Stanford, he played soccer for the California Jaguars professional team in 1995 and 1996 when they won the United States Inter-Regional Soccer League (USISL) title. He also was a member of the Palo Alto Firebirds, the USISL national champions in 1992.

“We are excited to have specialists from Washington University Orthopedics providing medical services for the Saint Louis Athletica,” says Lou Siville, the team’s chief operating officer. “Their expertise in injury prevention and rehabilitation will be important to the overall success of our team.”

Other Washington University Physicians caring for the Athletica include Rick W. Wright, M.D., associate professor in orthopedics and head team physician for the Blues and assistant team physician for the Rams. He specializes in using arthroscopic surgery techniques to treat problems involving the knee, shoulder, elbow, foot and ankle.

Assistant team physician Heidi Prather, D.O., focuses much of her practice on nonsurgical management of women’s health issues, including physiological and musculoskeletal changes related to the spine, hip and pelvis.

Another assistant team physician is Devyani Hunt, M.D., co-director of the Center for Women’s Wellness. She specializes in nonsurgical treatment of musculoskeletal problems and treats disorders common to adolescent and older female athletes.

Mark E. Halstead, M.D., is a specialist in nonsurgical sports medicine focusing on injuries and overuse problems in runners. He also works in concussion management and is an assistant team physician for the Rams and Blues.

Completing the Athletica’s medical team is Mary M. Kiehl, M.D., who specializes in treating joint pain in athletes as well as in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and gout.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed 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.