Major League Soccer expansion club St. Louis CITY Soccer Club (SC) has selected orthopedic physicians from the University of Washington (WashU Orthopedics) as the official team physicians and BJC HealthCare as the provider of team medical services.
As part of this relationship, CITY’s new state-of-the-art training facility will be named the University of Washington Orthopedic High Performance Center. The practice facility is just south of the team’s soon-to-open Centene Stadium on Market Street, west of downtown St. Louis.
“We are thrilled to partner with CITY SC and are committed to providing these world-class athletes with the orthopedic care they need to stay healthy and compete at the highest level,” said Regis O’Keefe, MD, PhD, Head of Orthopedics WashU. “We have some of the best orthopedic surgeons and doctors in the country. Together with other specialists at the University of Washington, we will work to protect the health of these exceptional athletes. Additionally, we are excited 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 emphasizes the importance and value of inclusion, social equity and a mission of success on the field and in the community. Among the goals of the collaboration are efforts to promote health equity and end health disparities in the region.
As national leaders in orthopedics and trusted sports medicine specialists, WashU Orthopedics physicians will work with club coaches to prevent injuries and keep CITY SC athletes at their peak. Medics will also be pitchside on home game days to provide immediate on-site care and triage in the event of injury. With over 80 orthopedic specialists on its medical staff, WashU Orthopedics has extensive in-depth experience treating all types of sports injuries using the latest techniques and research to help injured athletes return to play safely.
The team’s new medical director and chief orthopedic surgeon is Robert Brophy, MD, chief of sports medicine and professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Brophy’s clinical practice focuses on treating shoulder and knee injuries in patients of all backgrounds, although his work with professional athletes is particularly extensive. A team doctor for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and the Women’s Professional Basketball League’s St. Louis Surge, he also worked with the NFL’s Rams when they were in St. Louis and with 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 healthcare professionals and focuses on musculoskeletal issues related to the health and safety of active NFL players.
“St. Louis is a great sports city and a great soccer city; we’re overdue to have an MLS (Major League Soccer) team here,” Brophy said. “The doctors and staff at WashU Orthopedics will provide strong support to the St. Louis CITY team. In addition to covering games, the staff and I will make regular visits to the training facility during the pre-season and season to assess injured and recovering athletes. This is part of integral to how we provide care at this level as team physicians supporting professional athletes.
Brophy has experience in both professions, in this case.
After being named an all-conference football player as an undergraduate at Stanford University, he went on to play for the California Jaguars professional football team in 1995 and 1996, when the team won the US Inter-Regional Soccer League title. He was also a member of the Palo Alto Firebirds, the league’s national champions in 1992.
“It’s obviously something that I understand on some level, having been there and having a passion for the game,” he said. “I hope this will help me better understand how to serve as a team doctor. First and foremost my goal will be to take great 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 player care for the team. “We deeply appreciate the high caliber care provided by BJC and WashU Orthopedics,” she said. “Both organizations also share our vision for 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.