Newswise — SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Col. Francis O’Connor, MD, MPH, received the Founders’ Award today, May 9, 2017 at the 26th American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif. The award is bestowed when AMSSM leadership determines that a member exemplifies the best that a sports medicine physician can be and do.

Considered by many the “godfather” of military sports medicine, Dr. O’Connor has trained more than 100 sports medicine fellows, many of whom are running sports medicine fellowships and serving in leadership positions in sports medicine, the military and academia. After more than 30 years of active military service and as Professor and Department Chair of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University and Medical Director for the Consortium on Health and Military Performance, Dr. O’Connor retired from the military in April 2017. He continues to serve as a sports medicine physician in private practice in the Washington, D.C. area.

“His research into heat injury, rhabdomyolysis, exertional collapse associated with sickle cell trait has transformed the practice of sports medicine in the military and around the world,” said AMSSM 2nd Vice President Chad Asplund, MD, MPH.

Dr. O’Connor served as AMSSM President from 2010-11, as part of his 2003-2012 service on the AMSSM Board of Directors. Soon after his election as AMSSM 2nd Vice President, AMSSM created a strategic plan that called for development of guiding documents to help better frame the organization, move into professional office space and hire a new staff executive. Dr. O’Connor was tasked with developing an AMSSM Operations Manual and AMSSM Committee Handbook that have helped guide the organization, helped identify the office space and served as President when the new executive director was hired.  

“Fran was instrumental in improving AMSSM’s policy and procedure framework, implementation of an executive director, growth of the AMSSM administrative staff, as well as the strategic investing by AMSSM, which has allowed AMSSM to enjoy tremendous growth and prosperity,” said Asplund. “Through his career, he has been a true leader and role model for AMSSM, the sports medicine community and the military.”

Dr. O’Connor has authored more than 100 articles in scientific journals and numerous book chapters/technical reports/health promotion resources for the military and within the field of sports medicine. In addition, Dr. O’Connor is the editor of four textbooks on sports medicine.

Recently, Dr. O’Connor serve as the co-lead author of the AMSSM Position Statement on Cardiovascular Preparticipation Screening in Athletes: Current Evidence, Knowledge Gaps, Recommendations and Future Directions.

“I have learned so much about character and leadership from Dr. O’Connor,” said AMSSM President Matt Gammons, MD. “His contributions have helped the AMSSM continue to move forward as leaders in sports medicine.”

About the AMSSM Annual Meeting: The 2017 conference, with more than 1,800 sports medicine physicians attending from throughout the United States and around the world, explores current decisions, controversies as well as best practices related to Medicine in Motion that defines the clinical practice of sports medicine. The conference features lectures and research addressing the most challenging topics in sports medicine today including overhead athlete care, military medicine, sports performance training, youth sports, professional athlete care, leg pain, mental health in athletes, current sports medicine topics and much more.

About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of 3,400+ sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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