Nationals announce new medical structure

With a focus on being proactive and utilizing injury-prevention techniques, the Washington Nationals announced a new medical structure and expansion on Tuesday, with several personnel additions and changes. Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

In an innovative shift, the Nationals are transitioning their medical department to one that utilizes a proactive model, with significant analytic input. This will allow the Nationals to hone in on predictive factors to thwart potential injurious situations, and increase performance, by maintaining the health and wellness of their players.

The Nationals are pleased to welcome Harvey Sharman, the director of sports medicine/science for the Leeds United Football Club, as executive director/medical services. He will work with a medical services advisory board to oversee all facets of the Nationals’ training staff, and strength and conditioning programming.

The Nationals’ advisory board will be headed by: Dr. Keith Pyne, chairman/medical services advisory board, Dr. Robin West, lead team physician, and Bob Miller, Nationals vice president & assistant general manager. Overall, the Nationals’ medical department will expand from 43 full- and part-time personnel to at least 48, reflecting the organization’s further investment in the health and wellness of Nationals players. The Nationals are also currently in discussions with additional personnel that will continue to expand the department.

Sharman, a physiotherapist, comes to Washington after 15 years with the Leeds United Football Club, the previous eight as the organization’s director of sports medicine/science. Sharman began with Leeds as an assistant physiotherapist, but evolved into the head of the organization’s medical department. During this time, Sharman focused on movement dysfunction, and, subsequently, the development of injury-prevention strategies. With Leeds, Sharman oversaw an injury reduction of more than 50 percent, including a significant drop in soft-tissue injuries (muscular/ligament/tendon injuries).

West, a board-certified orthopedics and sports medicine surgeon, joined Inova in July 2014 as the medical director of the Sports Medicine Institute at Inova, where she oversees the program’s clinical, strategic, administrative and academic affairs. West, who has a special interest in the prevention and management of injuries, has served previously as the assistant team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the head team physician for the Carnegie Mellon University athletic department, and as the head team physician for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, and swimming and diving programs. A Southern California native, West joined Inova after more than 11 years of clinical experience as an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Pyne, head of Keith E. Pyne, D.C. PLLC in New York City, specializes in working with specific professional sports injuries. His treatment concentrates on the neuromuscular structural integration that resolves injuries and biomechanical discrepancies by addressing the problem in the body’s kinetic chain. Pyne, who has been consulting for the Nationals since 2012, has consulted with and treated over 1,300 professional athletes across all major sports (including: baseball, basketball, football, hockey, boxing, golf, and track & field).

In addition to the significant changes atop the medical structure, the Nationals are also proud to announce the following additions and retentions:

· Paul Lessard joins the Nationals as director, athletic training following six seasons as the Cincinnati Reds’ head athletic trainer. With 18 years of experience as a head athletic trainer in the major leagues, Washington is Lessard’s fourth major league organization, having worked with the Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2005), and Boston Red Sox (2006-2009), in addition to the Reds (2010-2015). He has twice been selected to represent the National League at the MLB All-Star Game (2012 & 2015). Lessard, a 1986 graduate of Northeastern University, spent 10 years as an athletic trainer for Boston University (1988-94) and the College of Holy Cross (1994-97). Before he was hired by BU, he spent two summers as assistant athletic trainer for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons (1985- 86) and two seasons with the New York Yankees’ Class-A Ft. Lauderdale affiliate (1987-88).

· Dale Gilbert comes to Washington as an athletic trainer after five seasons with the Texas Rangers, the previous four as the club’s medical coordinator. Gilbert originally joined the Rangers as the organization’s rehab coordinator in 2011. Before heading to Texas, Gilbert spent eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals (2003-2010), ascending through the Royals’ ranks from rehab coordinator to medical coordinator and, ultimately, athletic trainer. Gilbert spent six seasons (1997-2002) working as an athletic trainer in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization before joining the Royals. The Montana native earned his degree in exercise science and physical education, with a minor in Spanish, from Arizona State University.

· John Hsu, who joined the Nationals in 2010, will remain on staff as an athletic training assistant. The versatile Hsu, who has been on staff as an athletic training assistant the past five seasons, got his start in professional baseball as an athletic trainer for the Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) National Baseball Team (2004-05). Hsu graduated from California Baptist University with a master’s degree in athletic training in 2010, after earning a bachelor’s degree from the National Taiwan College of Physical Education in 2003.

· Matt Eiden, a six-year member of the Nationals’ strength and conditioning team, will return as the Nationals’ head strength and conditioning coach. Eiden, who previously served as the Nationals’ assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2011-2015, as well as their strength and conditioning Intern from 2009-2010, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. A graduate of St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., Eiden played baseball and earned a degree in Business Management from Mount St. Mary’s University (MD) before playing independent professional baseball in the Arizona Winter League and in Galveston, Tex.

· Patrick Panico, who had previously served the Nationals as a massage therapist, will shift into the role of corrective exercise specialist. Panico, who has been with the Nationals since the start of the 2013 season and has worked as a massage therapist/strength coach for over 20 years, was the founder of SPORTSFITNYC Integrated Conditioning Specialists in New York City. Panico’s professional baseball resume includes three years in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as a minor league strength and conditioning coach. Panico has studied a number of alternative therapeutic methods, including active release technique, trager therapy and dynamic stretch, as well as sports massage.

· Joe Cancellieri joins the Nationals as a corrective exercise specialist. Cancellieri comes to Washington after two years as an exercise physiologist and strength and conditioning coach for SportsLab NYC and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. Cancellieri, who approaches exercise from a science-driven perspective, has focused on corrective exercise, rehabilitation, neuromuscular facilitation, injury prevention and strength and conditioning. Cancellieri, a native of New York, earned his Personal Training certification in 2011, and received his Master’s degree in Bio-Behavioral Sciences with a specialization in Exercise Physiology from Columbia University in May, 2014. A competitive athlete throughout his life, Cancellieri became involved in the sport of Motocross as a teenager and has raced professionally since 2010.

The Nationals have also retained Dr. Thomas Cullen (team physician and internist) and Dr. Bruce Thomas (team physician, Florida).

The Inova Sports Medicine Institute (ISMI) provides a unique experience focused on personalized care and comprehensive treatment to athletes and active people of all ages and abilities. Inova’s innovative approach to sports medicine encompasses all aspects of sports performance and wellness including injury care and prevention, rehabilitation and nutrition, and mental and physical performance. Led by Medical Director Robin West, MD, ISMI focuses on the entire mechanics of the athlete to determine the root cause of an injury and develop prevention strategies that will minimize recurrence and maximize athletic performance for the future.

ISMI methods include a concierge approach to sports medicine with a customized treatment plan based on the needs of each patient. Our expert team includes athletic trainers, physical therapists, sports psychologists and nutritionists who work together to develop a personalized plan, tailored to the specific injuries and goals for recovery of each patient.