San Diego – The 2010 baseball season marks a medical milestone in local sports history – the 30th anniversary of Scripps Clinic’s role as the official health care provider of the San Diego Padres.
In addition to treating game-action injuries like broken bones and torn ligaments, Scripps provides a wide range of health care services to Padres players, coaches, front-office staff and their families.
“Our care for the Padres runs the full gamut, from routine screening physicals to reconstructive surgeries to detecting blockages in coronary arteries,” says Dr. Heinz Hoenecke, a Scripps Clinic orthopedic surgeon and Padres head team physician.
Dr. Hoenecke oversees the Padres medical staff of about a dozen Scripps doctors, who specialize in orthopedic surgery, internal medicine, emergency care, ophthalmology and podiatry. Scripps doctors attend all spring training and regular season home games.
Scripps also helps determine which new players join the team. Before the annual major league draft, Scripps doctors evaluate hundreds of players’ medical records and assign a rating scale for various physical attributes. And before player trades are finalized, Scripps physicians step in to assess the athlete’s health.
While sports medicine has progressed on many fronts, Dr. Hoenecke says advances in arthroscopic surgeries have been particularly significant. “With arthroscopy, you can go straight to the problem and do a smaller surgery to repair exactly what’s wrong,” he says. “It improves the success rate because it’s more accurate, and the recovery process is easier.”
Says Padres manager Buddy Black: “Scripps doctors and Padres trainers have done a great job of keeping our players on the field – and if they do get injured, helping them return as high performers.”
Scripps recently developed a software program to measure players’ range of motion using Nintendo’s Wii Remote technology. The goal is to help identify potential trouble spots before they become major injuries. Scripps also recently began creating 3-D computer design models of players’ joints, helping doctors more accurately diagnose and treat baseball injuries.
“Orthopedic doctors at Scripps Clinic are focused on finding innovative new approaches to treating athletes, and technology plays a big role in that quest,” Dr. Hoenecke says. “We’re proud that a wide range of athletes trust us with their care, from elite-level competitors all the way to the recreational sports enthusiast.”