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Dr. Gary Dorshimer was always
interested in medicine growing up, but a surprise trip to the
emergency room sparked his interest in the field. "When I was 12
years old I had to get stitches for a cut on my leg, and I was
fascinated at the thought that a needle could travel through my leg
after being injected with Novocaine, and I couldn't even feel it. I
think it was that experience, paired with my interest in anatomy
and a fascination in the resilience of human beings, that made me
want to go into medicine."
Dr. Dorshimer received his Bachelor's degree from Muhlenberg
College and attended medical school at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine. While in medical school he was
drawn to internal medicine because he liked the problem solving
aspect of the field. "I had classmates in medical school who wanted
to know a lot about a certain specialty and I thought I want to
know a lot about a lot of things, and that's why I choose general
After completing his residency at Pennsylvania Hospital, where
he was chief resident during his third year of residency, two of
his mentors, Dr. Edward Viner, MACP and Dr. Roger Daniels, FACP
asked him to join their primary care practice. Dr. Viner was the
team physician for the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia's
professional hockey team, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dr.
Dorshimer was excited at the chance to be involved in this type of
medical practice. Since Dr. Viner's appointment as the team
physician for the Philadelphia Orchestra required him to travel
extensively, Dr. Dorshimer was given the task of covering the
Flyers playoff games at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
"When I first joined the practice and had the chance to cover the
Flyers' playoffs at Madison Square Garden I felt like a kid in a
Then, 15 years ago when the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia's
professional football team, was making a change in their primary
care staff, Dr. Arthur Bartolozzi, the head team physician,
approached Dr. Dorshimer and asked if he would be interested in
being the primary care physician with the Eagles.
Dr. Dorshimer is in his 29th year as the team physician for the
Philadelphia Flyers and has finished his 15th season as the team
physician for the Philadelphia Eagles. As the Eagles' primary care
physician, Dr. Dorshimer attends every football game, both home and
away, whereas for the Philadelphia Flyers, he attends the regular
season home games as well as home and away games during the
playoffs. Although he treats a variety of injuries and illnesses
for players of both teams, concussions are one of the most common
injuries that he sees. "People are surprised to learn that it's the
internists and primary care physicians, not neurologists, that
treat the players' concussions." Dr. Dorshimer is also responsible
for treating the entire greater Philadelphia Eagles' and Flyers'
families, which includes all staff, coaches, and players. "I think
it's a really great experience to provide primary care for both of
my home teams."
Although Dr. Dorshimer did not complete a sports medicine
fellowship, he completed his certificate of Added Qualification in
Sports Medicine through the American Board of Internal Medicine in
1995. Currently, he is the Assistant Program Director of the Sports
Medicine Fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. As
Assistant Program Director, he is in charge of recruiting fellows
for the Sports Medicine Fellowship as well as teaching the fellows
at least a half day per week. "Teaching the fellows is a fun part
of the job. I get to expose them to a professional sports medicine
experience with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Flyers. But as an
internist, I want to get them to think and to understand the
thinking process of how quickly you deduce something really
specific from a lot of general medical knowledge, especially in the
field of sports medicine."
Dr. Dorshimer teaches the fellows how to work with a team's
athletic trainer and how important that partnership is. "One of the
things that we teach the fellows right from the start is how you
and the athletic trainer take care of a team, how you talk to an
athlete, and different issues that you have to consider in their
diagnosis and rehab that you wouldn't have to consider with other
Although Dr. Dorshimer admits that dealing with the many changes
in health care can be challenging, he finds helping others to be
the most rewarding part of the job. "The times that you can look
back and say I really did something good for that person or the
times when I was able to find an underlying medical condition that
might not otherwise have been found are the most rewarding parts of
Outside of his career Dr. Dorshimer enjoys traveling with his
family and playing golf, and of course cheering for the Eagles and
January 2013 Issue of IMpact
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