Sam Akhavan, M.D. to Accompany U.S. Rugby Team to World Cup (England)
When the U.S. Rugby Team is making its way across the United Kingdom, Sam Akhavan, M.D. will be there. An orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Allegheny Health Network and a team physician for USA Rugby, Dr. Akhavan has been officially selected to accompany the national team to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
“It’s an honor to be chosen by the team to care for these elite athletes as they face the toughest competition of their careers, ” Dr. Akhavan said in the August 18, 2015 news release. “Internationally, the Rugby World Cup is the third most watched sporting event after the FIFA World Cup and Olympics. It's exciting to be part of an event that connects so many people across the globe.”
As indicated in the news release, “The Rugby World Cup will take place in eleven cities across England and Cardiff from September 18 through October 31. The United States will play its first bout versus Samoa on Sunday, September 20. Dr. Akhavan will accompany the team to several important matches leading up to its World Cup campaign and then will travel to England for a number of the final matches of the World Cup.”
The fact that rugby players don’t wear protective gear leaves them open to a wide range of injuries. As team physician, Dr. Akhavan will treat overuse injuries, traumatic injuries, sprained ligaments and strained tendons, and knee and shoulder injuries.
Dr. Akhavan directs both the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship and Orthopaedic Research program at Allegheny General Hospital where he also serves as Associate Program Director for the Orthopaedic Residency and is an active member of the teaching staff.
Dr. Akhavan told OTW, “The most concerning injury that we deal with in rugby outside of the typical ligament tears (ACL, etc.) and shoulder dislocations/separations is head injuries. Concussions are something that World Rugby and USA Rugby have really been on the forefront in addressing. We have incorporated temporary substitution rules to allow time to evaluate players (the head injury assessment) as well use instant replay and spotters to ensure we minimize head injuries in the athlete.”
“Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. The rugby community is extremely tight knit and a dedicated athletic population. The pace and intensity of the game is very similar to American football but is essentially non-stop during both halves. Rugby medical coverage provides one of the most exciting and fast paced game coverage experiences and I would recommend it for anyone who loves covering sports.”