Washington University in St. Louis: Washington University Orthopedics teams up with St. Louis CITY Soccer Club

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Major League Soccer expansion club St. Louis CITY Soccer Club (SC) has chosen physicians with Washington University Orthopedics (WashU Orthopedics) as the club’s official team doctors and BJC HealthCare as the team’s medical services provider.

As part of the relationship, CITY’s newly built, state-of-the-art training facility will be named the Washington University Orthopedics High Performance Center. The training facility is just south of the team’s soon-to-open Centene Stadium on Market Street, west of downtown St. Louis.

“We’re excited to be collaborating with CITY SC and are committed to providing these world-class athletes with the orthopedic care they need to remain healthy and compete at the highest level,” said Regis O’Keefe, MD, PhD, head of WashU Orthopedics. “We have some of the nation’s very best orthopedic surgeons and physicians. In collaboration with other specialists at Washington University, we will work to protect the health of these outstanding athletes. In addition, we are thrilled to partner with the soccer club on community health projects that will make a difference throughout the region.”

The relationship between the club, WashU Orthopedics and BJC will extend beyond the pitch. The trio will team up on community health by collaborating on events that include an annual CITY Sprint 5K, health and wellness classes, nutrition education and volunteer programs.

Along with WashU Orthopedics and BJC, CITY SC is emphasizing the importance and value of inclusivity, social equity and a mission to succeed on the field and in the community. Among the collaboration’s aims are efforts to promote health equity and to end health disparities in the region.

As national leaders in orthopedics and trusted sports medicine specialists, physicians with WashU Orthopedics will work with the club’s trainers to prevent injuries and keep CITY SC athletes in peak form. The physicians also will be pitch-side on home game days to provide immediate on-site care and triage for any injuries. With more than 80 orthopedic specialists on its medical staff, WashU Orthopedics has broad, in-depth experience in treating all types of sports injuries using the latest techniques and research to help injured athletes safely return to play.

The team’s newly named medical director and head orthopedic surgeon is Robert Brophy, MD, chief of sports medicine and a professor of orthopedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

Brophy’s clinical practice focuses on the treatment of shoulder and knee injuries in patients from all walks of life — though his work with professional athletes is especially extensive. A team physician for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and the St. Louis Surge of the Women’s Professional Basketball league, he also previously worked with the NFL’s Rams when they were in St. Louis, and the St. Louis Athletica Women’s Professional Soccer team before the league folded. He is also vice chair of the NFL Musculoskeletal Committee, which includes independent and NFL-affiliated medical professionals and focuses on musculoskeletal issues relevant to the health and safety of active NFL players.

“St. Louis is a great sports town and a great soccer town; we’re overdue to have an MLS (Major League Soccer) team here,” Brophy said. “WashU Orthopedics’ physicians and staff will provide strong support to the St. Louis CITY team. In addition to covering matches, the staff and I will make regular visits to the training center during the preseason and season to assess injured and recovering athletes. That’s part and parcel of how we provide care at this level as team physicians supporting professional athletes.”

Brophy has experience with both professions, as it happens.

After being named an all-conference soccer player while an undergraduate at Stanford University, he went on to play for the California Jaguars professional soccer team in 1995 and 1996, when the team won the U.S. Inter-Regional Soccer League title. He also was a member of the Palo Alto Firebirds, the league’s national champions in 1992.

“This is obviously something that I understand on a certain level, having been there and having a passion for the game,” he said. “Hopefully it adds to my understanding of how to serve as a team physician. First and foremost, it will be my aim to take excellent care of the athletes ­— and my love of the sport will certainly add to my enjoyment of the experience.”

St. Louis CITY SC CEO Carolyn Kindle called BJC and WashU Orthopedics uniquely positioned to provide exceptional care to the team’s players. “We deeply value the high-caliber care provided by BJC and WashU Orthopedics,” she said. “Both organizations also share our vision of health, wellness and access in the community.”

St. Louis CITY SC, one of the few majority female-led ownership groups in all of professional sports, was granted an MLS franchise in 2019. The team will begin play in 2023.

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