Dr. Podesta to Serve As Team Physician for LA’s New Arena Football Team

April 16th, 2014 No comments
Dr. Luga Podesta at the Honda Center in Anaheim where the LA KISS play.

Dr. Luga Podesta at the Honda Center in Anaheim where the LA KISS play.

Many of our doctors serve as team physicians for a variety of professional, collegiate and high school sports teams. Luga Podesta, M.D. is one of those. Specializing in non-surgical sports medicine, Dr. Podesta has served as a Team Physician for the LA Dodgers, LA Avengers Arena Football team, and the LA Riptide professional lacrosse team, among others.

This season, Dr. Podesta is joining the LA KISS arena football team as team physician. While there are differences from sport to sport, Dr. Podesta says there are also many similarities from sport to sport when working as a Team Physician.

“Our job is to make sure our athletes aren’t returning to play with an injury that could lead to a permanent  or catastrophic injury,” he says.

Specific challenges faced by the Team Physician for an arena football team are much the same as faced by the physician working with an NFL team. “Football is a collision sport; players will get hurt and they will play with injuries,” says Dr. Podesta. “It’s a matter of figuring out what injuries are safe for them to play with, and which injuries are not safe to continue play.”

A 2008 study published by Dr. Podestain the American Journal of Sports Medicine,Injury Patterns in Professional Arena Football,found similar injury patterns in both the field and arena game. The primary difference between injuries in arena football and the NFL is that more arena football players suffer stress fractures and fractures in the foot due to the harder playing surface.

Dr. Podesta and Dr. Banffy examine an LA KISS player.

Dr. Podesta and Dr. Banffy examine an LA KISS player.

The pressure is on for physicians working with collision sports like football, hockey and lacrosse teams compared to sports like baseball, Dr. Podesta explains. “In football, the physician can actually have an impact on the game. For example, in baseball, if a player comes out of the game with an injury, they’re usually done for the outcome of the game,” he says. “Whereas in football, lacrosse and hockey, there’s a lot the physician can do to treat the players on the sidelines and get them back into the game. That’s where the team physician really becomes valuable to the team.”

To prepare for the season and potential injuries, physicians practice different routines for different injury scenarios, such as on field management of spinal injuries. To diagnose and treat injuries for the LA KISS, Dr. Podesta and other physicians working with the team, including two other Kerlan-Jobe sports medicine specialists, Michael Banffy, M.D. and Vernon Williams, M.D., will use musculoskeletal ultrasound to diagnose soft-tissue injuries on the field. They will also have x-ray technology available at the stadium to aid in diagnosing skeletal injuries and computer based neurocognitive tests to help diagnose concussion.

Though they are well prepared, Dr. Podesta hopes this first season with the LA KISS will be a quiet one as far as injuries go. “You really hope you’re more of an observer than a participant,” he says. “You prepare for all scenarios, including back injuries and concussions, but hope you never have to treat serious injuries.



Epicondylitis and other common golf-related injuries

April 10th, 2014 No comments
female golfer

Photo by Fevi Yu, Flickr Creative Commons

Common golf-related injuries

Golf is typically considered a low-risk sport compared to sports like football, basketball and even skiing, but that doesn’t mean it is a no-risk sport. As with any physical activity, golfers at all skill levels are subject to injury.

According to sportsmed.org, one study found that approximately 60 percent of professional golfers and 40 percent of amateurs suffered either a traumatic or an overuse injury while golfing. Other studies indicate that the incidence of injury in amateur golfers was just under 16 per 100 golfers, whereas, the touring golf professional sustains an average of two injuries per year. The majority (80 percent) of reported golf injuries were considered overuse injuries.

 While it is possible for golfers to suffer an acute injury, according to research by Kerlan-Jobe Director of Hand Surgery, Steven S. Shin, M.D., most golf-related injuries are overuse injuries caused by the repetitive nature of the swing.

Read more…

Preventing common basketball injuries

March 27th, 2014 No comments

Silhouette of Teen Boy shooting a BasketballStress fractures, ankle sprains, jammed fingers, knee injuries — these are all injuries commonly seen basketball players, professional athletes, student athletes and amateur athletes alike.

Read more about common basketball injuries here.

Some injuries in basketball are simply unavoidable — it’s the nature of the sport. Chasing after loose balls and getting physical in the lane often results in collisions between other players, the court and sometimes even the stands or press table.

Many injuries, however, can be prevented with adequate training, rest, and proper attention from physicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists. Here are six injury prevention tips for basketball players:

o   Get a physical exam prior to the start of the basketball season.

o   Stay fit, even in the off-season. Injuries such as stress fractures are more common when there’s a rapid increase in physical activity and training.

o   Cross train with aerobic conditioning, strength training and agility training.

o   Rest. Overuse injuries are less likely when athletes take time to rest and recover. Play sports year-around isn’t always beneficial and can increase risk of overuse injuries. Consider taking one season off each year.

o   If you experience pain or discomfort, listen to your body. “Pushing through the pain,” isn’t necessarily good for your body. For example, stress fractures that are not treated properly can result in compound fractures.

o   Participate in an ACL injury prevention program and incorporate ACL injury prevention techniques into your pre-workout warm-up.

o   Stay hydrated and pay attention to weather warnings to avoid over-exposure to heat resulting in heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

If you do suffer an injury, do not return to play until you have been given full clearance from your physician or physical therapist. While it can be difficult to be sidelined for a few games or even a full season, an athlete’s future in his or her sport is dependent on the athlete taking adequate time to rest and heal following an injury.



Stress fractures and other common sports injuries in basketball

March 25th, 2014 No comments

Basketball Player on courtCollege basketball fans watched in horror last March as Louisville’s Kevin Ware snapped his leg during the team’s NCAA Elite Eight game against Duke. Ware suffered a gruesome compound fracture that caused Ware’s tibia to protrude out of his leg when he landed with a twist after jumping to contest a 3-point shot by Duke’s Tyler Thornton.

Ware’s injury will no doubt go down as one of the most infamous sports injuries in college basketball history. The game was being broadcast live on national television so there was no time for television producers to edit out the graphic content and millions of viewers around the nation and even the world watched it all unfold.

Fortunately, basketball players are not commonly subject to such painful compound injuries, but the underlying cause of his injury, a stress fracture in his tibia, is much more common among basketball players.

Dr. Reed Estes, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and team physician for the UAB football team, explained in this Fox Sports article that stress fractures in the tibia are common among basketball players and that a stress fracture can weaken the bones in the leg.

Stress fractures are often the result of a rapid increase in activity or training, or from overtraining. They are most commonly seen in the foot and lower leg (tibia), the same location as Ware’s injury. If diagnosed quickly, immobilization and a period of non-weight bearing is recommended while the stress fracture heals.

Failure to detect a stress fracture can result in a more serious injury. ”If these are not detected they can result in a full fracture, particularly if the landing mechanics are just right” after a jump, Estes said. In most cases, surgery to stabilize the bones is successful. Ware underwent surgery the same night and rejoined his team for the 2013-2014 season. Unfortunately, he was benched after he suffered a kick to his shin in December, a setback that resulted in a medical redshirt for the rest of this season.

Stress fractures aren’t the only sports injuries common to basketball players. Other common injuries seen in basketball include: Read more…

5 Memorable Pitching Careers Saved by Dr. Jobe’s Tommy John Surgery

March 19th, 2014 No comments

In 1974, the late Dr. Frank Jobe, legendary orthopaedic surgeon and co-founder of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, performed elbow surgery on 31-year-old left-handed Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Tommy John. The procedure, which has become known as the Tommy John surgery, was an experiment.

Dr. Jobe thought that by reconstructing the ligament that lines the inner elbow, he might be able give John a one in 100 shot at pitching again. Prior procedures, physical therapy and rehab had been unsuccessful at treating John’s elbow injury.

Not only was Tommy John able to pitch again following the surgery that reconstructed the ulnar collateral ligament, he went on to have more wins post surgery than he had prior to the surgery. Prior to his surgery, John had won 124 games in 12 seasons. He returned to the pitcher’s mound in 1976 after surgery and went on to pitch 14 more years, winning 164 more games.

How the Tommy John Procedure Works

The ligament that lines the inner elbow is under significant stress in a pitcher’s arm. One hundred or more pitches a game at 90-plus miles per hour take a toll on the ligament. It may eventually unravel or snap, significantly reducing or even eliminating a pitcher’s ability to throw. With an understanding of the specific mechanics required for a pitcher to throw precisely and throw with velocity, Dr. Jobe designed the surgery to reconstruct the ligament, restoring the stability of  the elbow.

Top Pitchers Who Have Undergone Tommy John Surgery

Over the years, the Tommy John procedure has evolved, raising the possibility of restoring a pitcher’s throwing ability. Rehabilitation from the surgery takes a full year or more, but pitchers undergoing the procedure are often able to return to pre-surgery form. Countless pitchers have had the procedure and have gone on to have successful major league pitching careers. Here are a few of them:

Kerry WoodIn his rookie season in 1998, Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood had a record-tying 20-strikeout performance during his fifth major league start when he was just 20 years old. That year, he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Wood missed the 1999 season during his recovery, but returned in 2000 and made All-Star teams as both a starter and reliever. He recorded more than 200 strikeouts in four of his first five seasons, reaching a high of 266 in 2003. Wood eventually retired in 2012.


John SmoltzIn the 1990s, John Smoltz was an elite starter and won the 1996 National League Cy Young award. In 2000, Smoltz underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season. He returned as a relief pitcher in 2001. In 2004, Smoltz was an All-Star closer and rejoined the starting rotation. He continued pitching until after the 2009 season, when he retired at age 42.



Josh Johnson -- Johnson’s MLB pitching career started in 2006 when he joined the pitching staff for the Marlins. He launched his major league career with a 12-7 record and 3.10 ERA but went on to start the 2007 season with a record of 0-3 and 7.47 ERA. In August of that year, Johnson underwent Tommy John surgery, returning nearly a year later in July 2008 and went on to finish the year 7-1. In 2009, Johnson pitched an All-Star season with a record of 15-5 and career-high 191 strikeouts. He led the league with a 2.30 ERA in 2010 and made another All-Star game, finishing fifth in National League Cy Young voting. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2013 season, but finished the season on the disabled list. He will play this year with the San Diego Padres.


Billy WagnerIn 2008, when he was 37 years old, Billy Wagner, a six-time All-Star closer, underwent Tommy John surgery. He returned to the game at the end of the 2009 season, posting a 1.72 ERA in 17 games for the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox. He joined the Atlanta Braves for the 2010 season, his last in the big leagues. He made his seventh All-Star team that season.



Jordan ZimmermannNationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 — his rookie season. He has improved each year since he returned after surgery. In 2012, he helped the Nationals reach the post-season and finished with a winning record for the first time in his career at 12-8. In 2013, Zimmermann made his first All-Star team, finishing 19-9, a tie for the highest win total in Major League Baseball.


Dr. Jobe’s Tommy John surgery has become one of the most well-known surgical procedures in baseball. Little did he know when he performed that first procedure on Tommy John in 1974 that the revolutionary surgery would go on to save the pitching careers of countless pitchers for decades to come.



Game Changers: Dr. Frank Jobe & Tommy John – ATLXTV

March 12th, 2014 No comments
Dr. Frank Jobe, Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic

Dr. Frank Jobe, Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic

Sports entertainment television and media network ATLX had the opportunity to interview Dr. Frank Jobe before he was honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame in July for his contribution to baseball.  Dr. Jobe passed away on March 6 at age 88.  In the interview, they talked about the Tommy John surgery he invented, the growth of sports medicine and his career.

“He practically hand-laid each individual brick that paved the way for the entire field of sports medicine. A true pioneer in the field, Dr. Frank Jobe changed the game when he developed and performed the first ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction on the throwing elbow of MLB pitcher Tommy John in 1974.”

After his surgery, Tommy John went on to win 164 games –40 more than before his surgery– and extended his career until 1989. The success of Dr. Jobe’s revolutionary procedure, appropriately nicknamed “Tommy John surgery,” earned the deserved respect that skyrocketed the sports medicine industry to necessity and relevance.

Read the full interview here.

Patellofemoral Pain: What You Need To Know

March 11th, 2014 No comments

In this video on Common Sports Injuries from ATLXTV, Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic‘s Dr. Steve Yoon discusses Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, more commonly known as runner’s knee.


Steve H. Yoon, M.D. specializes in advanced non-surgical orthobiologic treatments for sports injuries as well as specializing in the treatment of spine injuries resulting in neck and back pain. Dr. Yoon earned his medical doctorate within his home state at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, after which he completed his internship at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and his residency at the NYU Medical Center and Hospital for Joint Disease, where he was named Chief resident. He followed his residency with a subspecialty fellowship in pain medicine at the UCLA/VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System. He is a consultant to the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Sparks and Loyola Marymount University athletic department.

Dr. Yoon is an active member of the medical community and is a member of the International Spine Intervention Society, North American Spine Society, and American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Yoon has authored numerous journal publications and book chapters, and has lectured locally, regionally and nationally.

Remembering Dr. Frank Jobe of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic

March 8th, 2014 No comments
“Tommy John surgery is the No. 1 career extender; there is nothing around it,” he said. “Dr. Jobe is a pioneer. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else but [to] the people who have studied under him or under Lew. They are the best surgeons in the world.” - C.J. Wilson


More obituaries and tributes for Dr. Frank Jobe:

Social Media Reactions – AL.com

Dr. Frank Jobe, best known for Tommy John surgery, dies at 88 – LA Times

Dodgers announce passing of Dr. Frank Jobe at age 88 – CBS Sports

Dr. Frank Jobe, the man behind Tommy John surgery, dies at 88 – Sporting News

Frank Jobe, inventor of Tommy John surgery, passes away at age 88 – NBC Sports

Frank Jobe, Surgeon Who Saved Pitchers’ Careers, Dies at 88 – NY Times

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March 7th, 2014 No comments

With the passing of our beloved Dr. Frank Jobe we have lost a dear friend and mentor, and the world has lost a true legend in the field of sports medicine and orthopaedic surgery.  As co-founder of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, he was as much admired for his compassion, humility and generosity as he was for pioneering medical breakthroughs and career-saving procedures that touched the lives of countless athletes, including the Tommy John surgery.

We will forever remember Dr. Jobe as a devoted family man, friend, and mentor to anyone who had the distinct privilege of meeting him. His legacy as a giant in the world of medicine is cemented and his values and vision will continue to live on through the physicians he trained and those physicians who will be trained at Kerlan-Jobe in the future.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Jobe’s family, friends and loved ones as we mourn the loss of this remarkable man.


Prevalence of Hand and Wrist Injuries in Snowboarding

February 18th, 2014 No comments

The 2014 Winter Olympics are in full swing in Sochi, Russia and winter sports such as snowboarding are in the limelight. With the exception of the Olympic Games every four years, all the hype about snowboarding and other extreme sports is typically reserved for the X Games.

With all the excitement surrounding the Olympics — and after watching several athletes tumble down the slopes in slopestyle (new to the Olympics this year) and halfpipe events, including American snowboarder Arielle Gold who had to drop out of the women’s halfpipe qualification round — it got us thinking about the prevalence of injuries to the hands and wrists from sports such as snowboarding.  (Gold, who is just 17-years-old, was considered a medal contender until she was injured during a training run.)

Dr. Steven Shin, orthopaedic surgeon and Director of Hand Surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic answers a few questions about hand and wrist injuries in snowboarding. Read more…