Press Room

July 25, 2013

Orthopedics Today Publishes Cover Story on Team Physician Conflicts in Athlete Treatments

Thorofare, NJ – Orthopedics Today, a SLACK Incorporated publication, has published a cover story explaining the conflicts team physicians face and the balance required in the treatment of athletes. The article was posted online at, the online home of Orthopedics Today. Published since 1981, Orthopedics Today delivers news of the latest advances and gold standards in the practice of musculoskeletal health care.

The July 2013 issue of Orthopedics Today features a cover story entitled “Team physician conflict: Balancing responsibilities to the patient and team,” an article detailing the conflicts team physicians face while treating athletes. Pressure to quickly return athletes to play from agents, team management, team ownership, fans and media is one conflict team physicians may face. A player’s own desire to revisit his or her normal routine also can influence a physician’s decision. Although not often, a physician’s compensation also may weigh heavily on treatment determination. Team physicians must balance all of these components by referring to their moral compasses to do the right thing — provide the best quality care possible — regardless of the pressure and scrutiny they may incur. Developing strong relationships and facilitating second opinions further help in earning athlete trust.

“Team physicians of all levels deal with unique factors and pressures in the treatment of their patient athletes,” said Joan-Marie Stiglich, ELS, Senior Vice President of SLACK Incorporated. “Orthopedics Today reached out to key opinion leaders to discuss how they deal with conflicts of interest and the influences outside sources may have on their decision-making process.”

“Athletes may have different demands, goals and abilities that exceed those of many patients we otherwise take care of,” said Benjamin Shaffer, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Washington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, associate professor of orthopedics at Georgetown University, head team physician for the Washington Capitals and assistant team physician for the Washington Wizards. “Being a team physician, especially at a professional level, involves a fairly careful balancing act trying to satisfy all those different components that go into the decision-making process besides the fundamental premise, which is that you never lose sight of the fact that you are taking care of a patient.”

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) has provided team physicians with return-to-play guidelines, which suggest that certain criteria should be met prior to returning athletes to play. The AOSSM, along with five other professional organizations, have recently released an updated consensus statement on the care by a team physician.

Orthopedics Today provides news coverage of scientific conferences and new surgical techniques. Reports on new devices, drugs and instrumentation supply orthopedic surgeons with information on advances in orthopedic technology. Interviews and round table discussions with orthopedic opinion leaders on topics of interest to the orthopedic community appear regularly.

SLACK Incorporated, publisher of Orthopedics Today, is a leading provider of information to targeted health care specialties. SLACK produces 42 publications in print and online; publishes more than 250 medical and allied health books; creates custom print and Internet-related projects; and produces convention daily newspapers and meeting supplements for a growing number of health care meetings. Published by SLACK Incorporated, provides daily news, videos, online education, meeting coverage and more.

For more information about Orthopedics Today, visit, or contact Lee Gaymon, Senior Director, Audience Development & Marketing, at, 856.848.1000 ext. 356.