Pens name new medical team
The Penguins have fired their longtime team physician, Dr. Charles Burke.
Burke, 57, who oversaw center Sidney Crosby's concussion treatment and Mario Lemieux's career-long back problems, told the Tribune-Review on Thursday night he was informed July 10 that he and the team's medical staff were being dismissed.
The team broke the news to him during its prospect camp at Consol Energy Center, Burke said.
The Penguins are replacing their medical team as part of a proposed move by 2014 to a hockey facility in Cranberry that will be in conjunction with UPMC, the team confirmed in a statement Friday.
Three UPMC specialists will oversee medical treatment of personnel next season, led by Dr. Christopher Harner, president of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. Harner is one of the founders of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine.
Assisting Harner will be Dr. Tanya Hagen as associate team physician. Her specialty is internal medicine. Dr. Dharmesh Vyas will serve as the Penguins assistant team physician. Vyas, like Harner, is an orthopedic surgeon.
Either Harner, Hagen or Dharmesh will travel to all Penguins road games. The Penguins will be only the second NHL team with a traveling road physician, joining the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Penguins will have access to more than 15 UPMC specialists as part of the medical staff shake up.
The arrangement between the Penguins and UPMC is similar to the one the Steelers have with UPMC at their South Side practice facility.
The Penguins and UPMC are awaiting approval from Cranberry officials to move forward with their plans.
Burke, an orthopedic surgeon, served as Penguins head physician since the 1988. He was also on the team's medical staff from 1983-86. He is affliated with but not employed by UPMC, just like Dr. James Bradley, the Steelers team physician.
In addition to Burke, EMS workers and vision and dental specialists who worked for the Penguins also were dismissed.
Burke twice cleared Crosby to return to play last season, but Crosby has played in only 63 regular-season games dating to January 2011, when he suffered his concussion.
Michael Collins, a clinical psychologist with extensive neuropsychology training who heads the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, also played a key role in Crosby's treatment for this injury. However, Crosby sought the outside opinion of several other concussion specialists during his treatment, including a chiropractor in Florida and surgeons in California and Philadelphia.
Burke developed, and is past director of, the NHL Concussion Program, the world's largest study investigating the effects of head injuries in sports.
Penguins CEO David Morehouse, who could not be reached for comment, said in the statement that Burke “has been such an integral part of the... medical team over the past 24 years.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Pouliot dazzles in victory over Blue Jackets
- Power play shines in Penguins’ home victory over Blue Jackets
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Baby Penguins notebook: Goalie Murray on historic run of success
- Penguins’ Kunitz makes a dream come true
- Winnik impresses Penguins in first workout
- Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Shootouts becoming a concern