Michael Schwartz: In his own words
Orthopedist treats professional and college athletes
Michael Schwartz ’88 is an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in the Division of Sports Medicine at NYU Langone Health on Long Island. His practice is dedicated to the treatment of orthopedic conditions and injuries in professional, collegiate and amateur athletes of all ages.
Schwartz has served as the orthopedic team physician for the New York Islanders, the New York Dragons arena football team and World Team Tennis. He has also been the covering orthopedist for events including the U.S. Open tennis tournament and golf’s Buick Classic, and has been a ringside physician for boxing and mixed martial arts. For the past decade, he has been the team orthopedist for Hofstra University athletics.
Schwartz describes some of the challenging orthopedic cases and interesting sports-related injuries he has seen during his career.
• “One of the most severe injuries I treated occurred during a Dragons game at the Nassau Coliseum. The starting quarterback suffered a severe leg injury as he was hit by two opposing players and his leg twisted, causing multiple fractures in his leg and ankle. The bone nearly pierced through his skin on the field. We carefully stabilized his leg and transported him to the hospital by ambulance and I performed extensive surgery to reconstruct his leg. He was able to return fully the following season, nearly leading the team to a championship and setting several arena football career records playing for seven more seasons.”
• “Serving as a team orthopedist with the Islanders, I treated a player from the opposing team who had a large piece of a broken hockey stick lodged just under the surface of his abdomen. Only a very small part of the stick was protruding through the skin, therefore it would be dangerous and difficult to remove it immediately. This was surgically removed in the hospital.”
• “Also, while I was the Islander team orthopedist, our goaltender was hit by an opposing player who slid into him and, as a result, he hit his head on the crossbar. He fell to the ice and suffered a head injury. I ran onto the ice with my dress shoes on. My greatest challenge in this case was successfully not slipping and falling on the ice as I ran to him in front of 15,000 fans and a TV audience. Incidentally, my friend’s wife was flipping through TV stations not watching the game but coincidentally spotted me during this incident. Luckily, I didn’t fall!”
• “I have treated numerous college players with ACL tears, but one case in particular stands out more than others. This player slipped on a wet floor in the gym during practice and suffered a knee dislocation including his ACL, PCL, MCL [all ligaments in the knee] and cartilage damage. This type of injury is devastating and often results in poor outcomes in regard to returning to play, and in some cases can be limb-threatening. Fortunately, his case worked out well as I performed two surgeries to reconstruct his knee. The following season he was able to return to play without any issues.”