Team physicians vital in athletic health care

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

By Jeremy Johnson

Boyle County Athletic Trainer

Welcome back to the Advocate-Messenger Athletic Trainer’s corner. In this segment I want to talk about team physicians. The team physician is an integral part of the athletic health care team, and in my view we have one of the best in the state here at Boyle County. Dr. Shelby White has been an orthopedic surgeon and the team physician for Boyle County High School for 32 years.  

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I can deal with many musculoskeletal injuries without referring the injury to a physician.  However, some injuries need to be seen by a doctor. Most of our patients here at BCHS see Dr. White or one of his partners at Danville Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Their office is very accommodating to us when taking care of our patients. They have a great staff and service many schools other than Boyle County.  

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) defines Team Physician as having “the leadership role in the organization, management and provision of care of athletes in individual, team and mass participation sporting events.” It is the team physician’s education, training, and experience that uniquely qualifies him or her to provide the best medical care for the athlete. As the leader of our athletic health care team, Dr. White embodies these principles. He is available to me for advice on athletic injury care, and when my patients (or athletes) need a referral.

One of the things that I like and admire about Dr. White is his humility and humbleness. He can take care of most of the orthopedic problems that we send him, but if he doesn’t know the answer or feels that another specialist can take care of the problem, then he will refer the patient elsewhere. Dr. White has assisted with our school sports physical night every year that I can remember. He has volunteered to attend countless games over the years which he does not get paid to attend. I cannot begin to tell you what his presence at games means to me as the athletic trainer. Not every athletic trainer has a team physician that attends games with them or that is available to talk about injuries. He is such an incredible asset and does not get the credit that he deserves.

Dr. White has been an amazing friend and confidant over the years. It is a very comforting feeling to know that he is in the stands at football games and can assist me if we have an emergency. He has seen and cared for many great Boyle County athletes over the years, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that they may not have been able to compete if not for his care.