AMSSM Leaders Help Develop Updated Team Physician Consensus Statement

AMSSM Leaders Help Develop Updated Team Physician Consensus Statement
Statement scheduled to be published later this summer

By Nick Monson, DO, AMSSM Communications Committee

Cindy J. Chang, MD, and Margot Putukian, MD, represented AMSSM on the expert panel at the 2013 Team Physician Consensus Conference (TPCC) on March 16-17, 2013, in Dallas, Texas. While not officially representing AMSSM, AMSSM Founder Stan Herring, MD, who facilitates the TPCC's, and members John Bergfeld, MD, and Ralph Franks, DO, were also in attendance.

The TPCC is charged with providing guidance on select medical issues in the care and treatment of athletes. Team physicians from six organizations – AMSSM, ACSM, AOSSM, AAFP, AOASM, and AAOS – meet annually to discuss and come to consensus on responsibilities that are "essential" and "desirable" for team physicians taking care of athletes to know and understand.

The purpose of this year’s conference was to update the first statement released by the TPCC in 1999 – the Team Physician Consensus Statement, which provides guidelines for choosing a qualified team physician and outlines the duties expected. A review of the statement was deemed necessary given the evolution of the role of the team physician. “This was a phenomenal meeting on a very important and timely topic – the Team Physician,” said Dr. Putukian. “The Team Physician Consensus Statement represents a systematic collaborative approach to several issues involving team physicians.”

Dr. Chang said the biggest changes to the document were the addition of separate sections on ethics and medico legal issues. “For example, when a physician is hired to be a team physician, this may interfere with the physician/patient relationship, and it is essential to disclose and properly manage any potential conflicts,” explained Dr. Chang.

The updated consensus statement also clearly delineated the “essential” and “desirable” medical qualifications and education of a team physician. For example, being a MD or DO, training in CPR and AED use, and knowledge of on-field medical emergency care including concussions, cardiac emergencies, spinal injuries and heat-related illnesses are essential. Desirable criteria include fellowship training in sports medicine, ACGME/AOA certification in sports medicine, and training in ACLS and ATLS. The statement defines not only the qualifications and education requirements of a team physician but also the medical and administrative responsibilities important in making return-to-play and clearance decisions, working as a medical supervisor for certified athletic trainers and serving as a leader in the athlete health care network (e.g. athletic trainers, other allied health care providers, parents and coaches).

Notably, AMSSM Founder Stan Herring, MD, has served as conference chair and primary author of the statements since the original conference in 1999. Topics in years past have included the Conditioning of Athletes for Sport, Sideline Preparedness, Return to Play, the Female Athlete, Mass Participation Event Management, Concussion (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury), Psychological Issues Related to Injury, Injury & Illness Prevention, the Adolescent Athlete, and the Masters Athlete and Nutrition. The past three years have been spent revising and updating statements on Concussion (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury), Return to Play and Sideline Preparedness.

“Having been involved as an author for this and several other TPCC documents, this particular document is very comprehensive, timely and provides guidelines for organizations and governing bodies regarding what it means to be a team physician,” said Dr. Putukian.

Though the conference in Dallas consisted of only 15 hours of focused discussion, it took weeks of research and preparation by all participants to develop the revised statement. The paper is slated to be published later this summer in time for the beginning of most football seasons.

About the AMSSM: The AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of sports medicine physicians whose members are dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. Founded in 1991, the AMSSM now comprises more than 2,300 sports medicine physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.


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