Super role

Doctors blitz NFL’s showcase while fielding emergency calls for workers, screening former players, hosting sports medicine conference

By Russell Rian / Feb. 19-28, 2011

UT Southwestern physicians played their part in the Super Bowl XLV festivities through screenings, care clinics and a weekend-long sports medicine clinic for colleagues.

Members of the Divison of Emergency Medicine partnered with the National Football League to staff the NFL’s Emergency Medicine Clinic at the host hotel, the Hilton Anatole. For 10 days, emergency physicians and nurses from UT Southwestern and Parkland Health & Hospital System cared for NFL employees or members who were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area helping produce the Super Bowl and its related events.

The health care effort culminated 12 months of preparation by Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine, and NFL medical director Dr. Ricardo Martinez.

Stephen Grant, who spent six seasons in the NFL, signs a football for Dr. Anand Rohatgi at the NFL-sponsored health fair for former players, held during Super Bowl Week. Mr. Grant is now chaplain of the football team at Texas Tech.

“This was a tremendous opportunity for UT Southwestern and Parkland to partner with the NFL’s Medical Sports Group and provide emergency medical services to members of the NFL family who were visiting Dallas,” said Dr. Marshal Isaacs, professor of surgery and medical director of Dallas Fire-Rescue, who headed the clinic with Tom Tierney, director of BioTel EMS System.

UT Southwestern physicians also assisted with Southwestern Medical District-based events for former players. Dr. Claus G. Roehrborn, chairman of urology, and others screened several former players for prostate cancer at University Hospital — Zale Lipshy as part of a pre-Super Bowl game offering.

“Super Bowl weekend in Dallas — what could be a better opportunity to participate in a free screening for the most common cancer in men, and joining forces with the NFL Players Association and the American Urological Association in doing so?” Dr. Roehrborn asked. “And as an added bonus for our physician and fellows, to be able to shake hands with some of professional football’s past seasons’ greats!”

UT Southwestern physicians affiliated with the Doris and Harry W. Bass Jr. Clinical Center for Heart, Lung and Vascular Disease, in conjunction with the Living Heart Foundation, took blood-pressure measurements, cholesterol and body composition, and administered electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, carotid vascular ultrasounds and cardiac CT scans for 35 former NFL players, including former Dallas Cowboys D.D. Lewis, Mike Connelly and Larry Cole.

“We were honored to have the opportunity to work with the NFL and Living Heart Foundation to provide important screenings for these former elite athletes,” said Dr. James de Lemos, associate professor of internal medicine. “The players’ high profile helps bring needed attention to the dangers of undetected heart disease and usefulness of cardiovascular screening for men and women of all walks of life.”

Other faculty members involved included Dr. Cecelia Brewington, professor of radiology; Dr. Sharon Reimold, professor of internal medicine; and Drs. Amit Khera and Anand Rohatgi, both assistant professors of internal medicine. Alisha Northcutt, manager of the heart center, provided organizational leadership for the event and many other cardiology staff also volunteered.

Dr. Sharon Reimold (center) monitors the echocardiogram procedure for Jerry Norton, a former SMU star who played in the NFL from 1954 to 1964. Conducting the test is Cindy Todd (right), lead cardiac sonographer in noninvasive cardiology.

While screenings were taking place, UT Southwestern tackled a two-day Super Sports Medicine Conference: “Current Concepts in Sports Medicine,” sponsored by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s sports medicine section in the T. Boone Pickens Medical Education & Conference Center. Physicians addressed a full range of advances in orthopaedic and primary-care sports medicine, including overuse and traumatic upper extremity injuries, anterior cruciate ligament-injury prevention, platelet rich plasma injections, foot problems, sudden cardiac death, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sickle cell trait, vitamin D deficiency and exertional hyponatremia.

“The Super Bowl provided an excellent opportunity to showcase to local and national health care professionals the advances in sports medicine that are taking place right here at UT Southwestern,” said Dr. Robert Dimeff, professor of orthopaedic surgery, pediatrics, and family and community medicine, and director of primary care sports medicine.

Many physicians followed up the conference by attending the National Brain Injury Prevention and Awareness Tour’s town hall meeting, “How Do We Prevent, Identify and Treat Concussions In Youth?” The meeting’s expert panel involved several UT Southwestern faculty, including Dr. Duke Samson, chairman of neurological surgery; Dr. Dimeff; Dr. Pamela Okada, associate professor of pediatrics; and Dr. Shane Miller, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery. The event was held in conjunction with the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, a leading organization on pediatric acquired brain injury.

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Dr. de Lemos holds the Sweetheart Ball-Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Chair in Cardiology.

Dr. Pepe holds the Riggs Family Chair in Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Roehrborn holds the E. E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Distinguished Chair in Urology.