American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Top Sports Medicine Experts to Address COVID-19 and Athlete Care

Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator to keynote event for physicians

Newswise — (Indianapolis, IN) – From little league players to Olympic athletes, competitors at all levels have been impacted by COVID-19. As sports and athletes rebound, team physicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists now face unique challenges caring for athletes. Top sports medicine experts—along with Deborah Birx, M.D., from the White House and Paul Offit, M.D., from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia—will address some of the key issues surrounding competitive and recreational athlete care during COVID-19 at the 2020 Advanced Team Physician Course, a collaborative effort between the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM). 

“Athletes of all ages and abilities have been confronted by unprecedented mental and physical challenges thanks to the pandemic,” said ACSM Fellow Carrie Jaworski, M.D., who is leading the planning for this year’s Advanced Team Physician Course. “The long-term effects of COVID-19, including risks to heart and lung health, are still unknown, which adds additional challenges for those caring for athletes. As leaders in the sports medicine field, ACSM, AMSSM and AOSSM understand the critical need to share up-to-date information and best practices during the most challenging medical environment of our time.” 

Among the 14 experts scheduled to present during the virtual, three-hour course are Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, and Paul A. Offit, M.D., director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Birx will deliver a keynote on the topic of COVID-19 and where we’ve been, where we are and where we need to go while Dr. Offit will address the COVID-19 vaccine and considerations for athletes and team physicians. 

“The good news is that we live in an age where scientific and medical advances should allow us to defeat this virus,” said Dr. Offit, whose session will highlight indications and contraindications of a vaccination, along with how to counsel athletes about the associated risks and benefits. “If we can eliminate smallpox from the face of the earth with a vaccine, we have every reason to believe that we can eliminate SARS-CoV-2." 

Additional sessions will focus on cardiopulmonary considerations and complications. Experts will discuss the American College of Cardiology guidelines for cardiac testing to determine which tests, if any, athletes need prior to returning to physical activity and competition after a COVID-19 infection. The course will end with a town hall discussion among experts from Olympic, professional, collegiate and youth sports organizations on the safe return to play for all athletes after a COVID-19 infection.

Besides Dr. Birx and Dr. Offit, additional participants include:

  • John P. DiFiori, M.D., FACSM, director of Sports Medicine for the NBA
  • Jonathan Finnoff, D.O., FACSM, chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic/Paralympic Committee
  • Peter Gerbino, M.D., FACSM, Monterey Joint Replacement & Sports Medicine
  • Brian Hainline, M.D., FACSM, chief medical officer for the NCAA
  • Sandra Hoffman, M.D., FACSM, CME advisor
  • Carrie Jaworski, M.D., FACSM, NorthShore University Health System
  • Jonathan H. Kim, M.D., M.Sc., FACC, chief of Sports Cardiology at Emory University
  • Michael C. Koester, M.D., chair, National Federation of High School Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee
  • Matthew Martinez, M.D., FACC, director of Sports Cardiology and co-director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy program at Morristown Medical Center
  • Colonel Christopher D. Meyering, D.O., Command Surgeon, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • Francis G. O’Connor, M.D., M.P.H., FACSM, medical director for the Consortium for Health and Military Performance and professor at the Uniformed Services University
  • Tod Olin, M.D., MSCS, director of the National Jewish Health Exercise and Performance Breathing Center

“Anyone involved in the care of athletes will benefit from the information shared by this all-star team of physicians who are actively caring for athletes during COVID-19,” adds Dr. Jaworski.

Learn more about the scheduled sessions and presenters for the Advanced Team Physician Course and register online at

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Media are invited to attend. Pre-registration is required by November 30, 2020. Media who want to speak with one of the presenters or register should contact Lisa Ramage at [email protected].


About the American College of Sports Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to improve educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. Learn more at


About the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) is a multi-disciplinary organization of more than 4,200 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, high school, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic and Paralympic 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. Learn more at


About the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is the premier global organization representing the interests of orthopaedic surgeons and other professionals who provide comprehensive health services for the care of athletes and active people of all ages and levels. AOSSM cultivates evidence-based knowledge, provides extensive educational programming and promotes emerging research that advances the science and practice of sports medicine. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids. Learn more at

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