What does it take to keep pro athletes healthy? Just ask Robert Najarian, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at Inova Sports Medicine and team physician for the Washington Nationals.
What’s it like working with the Nats?
These athletes are highly competitive professionals at the top of their game. To know you’ve been entrusted with their care is really rewarding and has been the highlight of my career thus far.
How do they differ from your other patients?
Making sure they stay healthy to play is important to everyone, including team owners and fans. [But] we treat each of them as we would any other patient. You have to strip away who they are and what they stand for. It’s always about doing what’s best for the patients and players.
Is it tough to gain players’ trust as a sports medicine physician?
When you walk into that locker room, that’s their house. They don’t trust you immediately, nor should they. They are educated about these conditions and injuries, so you have to make sure you’re always up-front with them, speak in language that they understand and make them realize that you always have their best interests in mind. The respect and trust are earned, and you have to make sure you’re doing the right thing for their careers.
What has been the highlight of working with MLB?
I was there when the Nationals clinched the division in 2017, becoming the National League East champions. My little girls were with me, and we all went out onto the field to celebrate with the players and their families. Having the guys thanking our [medical] team for helping them stay healthy to get to that point was a wonderful moment. It’s the best job in the world, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
You can receive the same care as the pros with Inova Sports Medicine. Injured? Inova Sports Medicine’s team of experts will develop your personalized plan to get you back in the game. Request an appointment today! Inova Sports Medicine is the Official Sports Medicine Partner of the Washington Nationals and the Washington Redskins.