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.
As team physician to the Washington Nationals, I’m used to helping baseball players manage injuries and stay healthy during the season. But this spring, I had a chance to stretch those skills as team doctor for the World Baseball Classic.
In March, I flew to Tokyo to care for players from the four teams that advanced to the second round of playoffs. It was a terrific experience, and I was honored to be a part of it.
Treating Stomachaches to Spinal Injuries
At the Classic, I worked with teams from Japan, the Netherlands, Israel and Cuba. Going in, I expected language barriers might be a problem, but we had excellent interpreters available that made it easy to communicate.
A bigger challenge was being the only doctor for so many people – and so many conditions. As expected, I worked closely with the players and their athletic trainers to treat any sports injuries that arose. But I was also on call for all of the teams’ staff members. That meant I was seeing people for coughs, colds and stomachaches, in addition to orthopedic injuries.
It was definitely a busy 4 days, but I enjoyed the experience. One highlight for me was treating a pitcher from the Netherlands. He had a herniated disc in his spine that was leading to some numbness in his legs. I was able to treat him, the numbness went away and he pitched in the next game.
Injury Prevention Tips
It’s a lot of fun to work with professional athletes who are committed to keeping their bodies in top condition. You don’t need to be a pro, however, to follow their example for staying healthy on the field.
If you (or your child) plays softball or baseball, you can reduce the risk of injury by following some simple steps:
- Follow a training regimen to keep your body strong and healthy, even during the off-season.
- Warm up appropriately before practices and games.
- Off the field, engage in exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
- Be honest (with yourself and others) if you experience any injuries or discomfort. Playing through the pain could set you up for bigger injuries, so listen to you body.
At Inova Sports Medicine, we treat patients of all ages and activity levels, offering personalized care to get you back to the games and activities you love. To make an appointment, call 703-970-6464.