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"Climbing the ladder" for Pro teams?

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TellumSox

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I've asked a variation of this question before, but mostly as it pertained to fellowship and not necessarily in the real world. I've also heard mixed things, so I want to hear you all out.

In sports like the NFL or NBA, you hear of coaches working their way up from, say, D3 to D1 to Pro.

Does something similar exist in medicine? Is that how it works? In the "real world", can you move up from D3 to D1 to Pro?

Or is it simply a matter of hooking up with the right hospital system at the right time to have that opportunity, more about who you know, regardless of your previous experience with coverage? I have to imagine that once you're an experienced enough sports doc, you've probable treated a variety of competitive athletes anyway, so you should be able to handle "more elite" coverage regardless if you have previous experience in elite coverage or not.

Or would systems and/or universities favor your application a bit more if you do have that coverage?

In other words, is there any value in selecting jobs based on the possibility of "climbing the ladder"?
 
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galactus

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I've asked a variation of this question before, but mostly as it pertained to fellowship and not necessarily in the real world. I've also heard mixed things, so I want to hear you all out.

In sports like the NFL or NBA, you hear of coaches working their way up from, say, D3 to D1 to Pro.

Does something similar exist in medicine? Is that how it works? In the "real world", can you move up from D3 to D1 to Pro?

Or is it simply a matter of hooking up with the right hospital system at the right time to have that opportunity, more about who you know, regardless of your previous experience with coverage? I have to imagine that once you're an experienced enough sports doc, you've probable treated a variety of competitive athletes anyway, so you should be able to handle "more elite" coverage regardless if you have previous experience in elite coverage or not.

Or would systems and/or universities favor your application a bit more if you do have that coverage?

In other words, is there any value in selecting jobs based on the possibility of "climbing the ladder"?
All of the above. Look at every NFL/NBA/MLB website and see who their team docs are. You can tell by the ads on their jerseys, or the logo placement on the backdrop during interviews (ex: UCLA Health covering the Lakers). A lot of the pro leagues have a rule also stating that if you are doing to be their team doctor, you have to be board certified in sports medicine. The NFL has had this rule in place since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Another example is to be a Team USA Physician, you have to be board certified in sports medicine AND practice as a sports medicine doctor for 5 years. Anyway most team physicians are all based on a big hospital system. What people don't realize is that everyone wants to be their team physician, so being the team doctor really comes down a combination of networking, timing, and ultimately, the highest bidder. I've experienced both sides on this, where our sports medicine department won the bid to cover a D1 team and a pro team, and also lost bids to cover D1/pro. One bid we lost we thought we almost had..met the players and coaching staff and they expressed their interest for us to be their team doctors, but the owner went with another direction because of a previous relationship with the opposing hospital system...and they offered more money!

Bottom line, it's whomever can throw the most money at them. Pro teams know they are marketable, and the hospital system advertising that they are the medical providers for a team pays huge dividends market wise. I've had patients see me because they know I'm affiliated with a certain team. The marketing works!
 

TellumSox

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All of the above. Look at every NFL/NBA/MLB website and see who their team docs are. You can tell by the ads on their jerseys, or the logo placement on the backdrop during interviews (ex: UCLA Health covering the Lakers). A lot of the pro leagues have a rule also stating that if you are doing to be their team doctor, you have to be board certified in sports medicine. The NFL has had this rule in place since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Another example is to be a Team USA Physician, you have to be board certified in sports medicine AND practice as a sports medicine doctor for 5 years. Anyway most team physicians are all based on a big hospital system. What people don't realize is that everyone wants to be their team physician, so being the team doctor really comes down a combination of networking, timing, and ultimately, the highest bidder. I've experienced both sides on this, where our sports medicine department won the bid to cover a D1 team and a pro team, and also lost bids to cover D1/pro. One bid we lost we thought we almost had..met the players and coaching staff and they expressed their interest for us to be their team doctors, but the owner went with another direction because of a previous relationship with the opposing hospital system...and they offered more money!

Bottom line, it's whomever can throw the most money at them. Pro teams know they are marketable, and the hospital system advertising that they are the medical providers for a team pays huge dividends market wise. I've had patients see me because they know I'm affiliated with a certain team. The marketing works!

So let me ask you this, which gets more to the heart of it. Say a big hospital system buys a pro team and that big hospital system has an opening to be one of the team doctors of that pro team. Is the only real requirement being sports boarded and having experience (and of course them liking you in the interview)? Or will they favor a guy who has that experience at high D1 as opposed to say a mid-major D1? Does it really matter if they both know their stuff? I would say a guy who spent 15 years at the mid-major D1 probably knows more than the guy who spent 5 years at the high-major D1, but I could be wrong...maybe they weight the high-D1 experience more in this case?

Thanks for the info!
 

TellumSox

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All of the above. Look at every NFL/NBA/MLB website and see who their team docs are. You can tell by the ads on their jerseys, or the logo placement on the backdrop during interviews (ex: UCLA Health covering the Lakers). A lot of the pro leagues have a rule also stating that if you are doing to be their team doctor, you have to be board certified in sports medicine. The NFL has had this rule in place since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Another example is to be a Team USA Physician, you have to be board certified in sports medicine AND practice as a sports medicine doctor for 5 years. Anyway most team physicians are all based on a big hospital system. What people don't realize is that everyone wants to be their team physician, so being the team doctor really comes down a combination of networking, timing, and ultimately, the highest bidder. I've experienced both sides on this, where our sports medicine department won the bid to cover a D1 team and a pro team, and also lost bids to cover D1/pro. One bid we lost we thought we almost had..met the players and coaching staff and they expressed their interest for us to be their team doctors, but the owner went with another direction because of a previous relationship with the opposing hospital system...and they offered more money!

Bottom line, it's whomever can throw the most money at them. Pro teams know they are marketable, and the hospital system advertising that they are the medical providers for a team pays huge dividends market wise. I've had patients see me because they know I'm affiliated with a certain team. The marketing works!


In other words, it seems like you're implying that beyond being board-certified in sports and having experience, it's really a matter of opportunity and networking (based on the hospital system you're in) more so than needing to "work your way up." Is that correct?
 
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galactus

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In other words, it seems like you're implying that beyond being board-certified in sports and having experience, it's really a matter of opportunity and networking (based on the hospital system you're in) more so than needing to "work your way up." Is that correct?

Yes. Working your way up IS networking. Get your name out there. Cover HS games and local races. Do some media requests in your local community, stay involved in organizations, like AMSSM. You move up by reputation and name recognition. Be willing to do the small things and bigger opportunities arise..basically it's the same thing as trying to get a fellowship lol.
 
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TellumSox

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Yes. Working your way up IS networking. Get your name out there. Cover HS games and local races. Do some media requests in your local community, stay involved in organizations, like AMSSM. You move up by reputation and name recognition. Be willing to do the small things and bigger opportunities arise..basically it's the same thing as trying to get a fellowship lol.

Hah! The rat race never ends!
 
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nimbus

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All of the above. Look at every NFL/NBA/MLB website and see who their team docs are. You can tell by the ads on their jerseys, or the logo placement on the backdrop during interviews (ex: UCLA Health covering the Lakers). A lot of the pro leagues have a rule also stating that if you are doing to be their team doctor, you have to be board certified in sports medicine. The NFL has had this rule in place since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Another example is to be a Team USA Physician, you have to be board certified in sports medicine AND practice as a sports medicine doctor for 5 years. Anyway most team physicians are all based on a big hospital system. What people don't realize is that everyone wants to be their team physician, so being the team doctor really comes down a combination of networking, timing, and ultimately, the highest bidder. I've experienced both sides on this, where our sports medicine department won the bid to cover a D1 team and a pro team, and also lost bids to cover D1/pro. One bid we lost we thought we almost had..met the players and coaching staff and they expressed their interest for us to be their team doctors, but the owner went with another direction because of a previous relationship with the opposing hospital system...and they offered more money!

Bottom line, it's whomever can throw the most money at them. Pro teams know they are marketable, and the hospital system advertising that they are the medical providers for a team pays huge dividends market wise. I've had patients see me because they know I'm affiliated with a certain team. The marketing works!

Marketing notwithstanding, is the work for the teams themselves well compensated?
 

Merely

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Marketing notwithstanding, is the work for the teams themselves well compensated?

no..you work for free lol why do you think you’ll be paying them to work for them then you think they’ll pay you back? You work for free you’re doing it as a volunteer so you can tell people you did it
 
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nimbus

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no..you work for free lol why do you think you’ll be paying them to work for them then you think they’ll pay you back? You work for free you’re doing it as a volunteer so you can tell people you did it

Dang. I had no idea that’s how things worked. Of course rich millionaires should get free medical care....lol. I’ve worked with some orthopedists who are professional team doctors. Most are very good. One was scary and had his privileges revoked.
 
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runfastnow

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It isn't free medical care. Any injuries or illnesses to a professional player is the same as workman's comp or short term disability for your average plumber or teacher - both are injured on the job/profession and as such get the care needed for the ailment covered by the employer. If the player wants a second opinion outside of the team physicians they usually pay something out of their own pocket or a player's union/association insurance.

Some team docs are compensated for their services although when the hours are accounted for it is significantly lower than market value or for equivalent time seeing patients/procedures (although some are not compensated at all outside of peripheral perks of being team physician) - it's more the organization for which the doctor works pays a big price tag for the rights to be "official medical providers".
 
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galactus

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All of this! Doctors get paid when the athlete sees them in clinic, not when you are running to the football field to assess an injury, or standing at the sidelines watching the game. It's a labor of love, but we all do it.
 
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