Team Effort

The Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center uses a multidisciplinary approach to helping athletes with injuries.

clientuploads/Health/December 2012/HomeRotator_Health_TeamEffort_12_190.jpg BY JOANN PETACHNICK

The Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center is a top provider of comprehensive sports-based programs to treat and prevent injury, aid recovery and enhance athletic performance. But the center stands alone in the area because it offers an innovative multidisciplinary approach to treating sports injuries. “Our sports medicine program is unique because we were the first to really integrate the entire spectrum of physicians, therapists, trainers and other professionals. Instead of seeing different people at different locations, when a patient comes in with an injury, everything they need is here in one place,” says Dr. William G. Raasch, director of the Sports Medicine Division for Froedtert & The Medical College.

This type of multidisciplinary approach is sometimes used in the treatment of other diseases, but typically not in sports medicine. Perhaps that’s why professional athletes come to the Sports Medicine Center for treatment. Physicians like Dr. Craig C. Young have a patient list that includes an elite group of baseball and football players as well as trained dancers. Young serves as one of three team physicians for the Milwaukee Brewers, the team physician for the Milwaukee Mustangs, the U.S. Snowboarding Team, and company physician for the Milwaukee Ballet. Unlike most sports medicine specialists, however, Young is not a surgeon. “I am a non-operative primary care sports medicine specialist. That makes me an unusual part of a sports medicine team,” says Young, who is a professor of orthopaedic surgery and community and family medicine. “My training in family medicine gives me a different perspective on treating these injuries.”
It isn’t just the pros who are treated at the center; amateur athletes from all sports at all levels, including high school and college students of both sexes seek treatment and training. The Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin is the only one of its kind in the Midwest and one of just a handful in the country, run by Dr. Anne Z. Hoch. “It’s the only women’s program with a research component examining the issues unique to female athletes. My role is to run the women’s program from a clinical and research aspect,” she says.

Hoch and her team have been studying the distinctive issues of the female athlete, including what is known as the Female Triad, which includes three components: disordered eating, menstrual irregularity and low bone mass. “We recently discovered via a study at Milwaukee’s Divine Savior High School and Marquette University that the triad is actually a tetrad; the fourth component is early cardiovascular disease brought on by low estrogen levels — the same as what happens after menopause,” Hoch explains. As a result, Hoch has established a prevention and education program for young female athletes and she’s hoping to reach student athletes around the area.

Competitors who want to correct or enhance their performance level can try out the Center’s 250K Motion Analysis System. It’s an eight-camera system that enables the sports medicine team to analyze a pitcher’s delivery, a golfer’s swing, or a ballerina’s leap in real time. Athletes are fitted with multiple sensors on various points of the body and the cameras capture the athlete’s motion. “We have 150 professional baseball players already in our system and we can use those digital images to compare and analyze the motions of other athletes. We can see if someone is doing something to cause injury, or we can use it to enhance their performance,” Raasch says.

While the specialized services and technology at the Sports Medicine Center are instrumental in the treatment of athletes, the influence of being a medical college cannot be ignored, according to Young. “The fact that we are a teaching program forces us to stay on top of the students’ questions with increased focus on individual patients,” he says.