Inova physician named team doctor for World Baseball Classic

Robert G. Najarian, MD, is board certified in orthopaedic sports medicine and orthopaedic surgery. He is a member of Inova Sports Medicine, the official sports medicine partner of the Washington Nationals and Washington Redskins. He has particular interest in treating injuries and disorders of the knee, shoulder and elbow. Read Dr. Najarian’s profile.

Baseball enthusiast, sports medicine specialist and team physician to the Washington Nationals, Robert Najarian is about to embark on a dream assignment. He is heading to Tokyo, Japan to serve as a physician to players in the World Baseball Classic.

Like an Olympics just for baseball, the World Baseball Classic brings together some of the best players in the world, competing on teams for their home countries. More than a dozen countries will be represented in the tournament. During the second round of playoffs, March 12-15, Dr. Najarian will care for the four teams who advance from the first round of playoffs being held in Tokyo and Seoul (Team USA, which includes Tanner Roark and Daniel Murphy from the Washington Nationals, will be playing in a different venue).

“My role there will be similar to my role with the Washington Nationals,” says Dr. Najarian. “I will be evaluating athletes in the training room, treating any acute injuries that occur and coordinating care with local hospitals if necessary.”

Dr. Najarian is excited about the prospect of working with athletes from numerous different countries, but admits that navigating language barriers may make for some interesting challenges. “I’ll be dependent on translators, which can be difficult when dealing with medical information,” he says.

In his work with the Nationals, Dr. Najarian has the advantage of treating the same players for entire seasons—often over the course of multiple seasons. But in his role with the World Baseball Classic, he will be caring for athletes he’s never met before and whose medical history and previous injuries he knows nothing about. Plus, he’ll be with them for only a few days, and that means making quick decisions about whether or not they are healthy enough to continue playing in the tournament.

“I want to be careful about not letting an athlete do more harm to himself,” Dr. Najarian says. “But I also don’t want to take anyone out of the game and make them lose this opportunity if I don’t have to.”

When Dr. Najarian returns home after this second round of playoffs, he will report back on the event—posting photos and a recap of his time at the tournament. So stayed tuned for more!

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