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After the Win: Perspective from L.A. Rams’ Team Physicians

Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute Sports Medicine Specialists Share Their Thoughts After the Big Win and Discuss What's Next for the Players they Treat

Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute sports medicine specialists and surgeons—team physicians for the L.A. Rams—have treated numerous players who were in this year’s big game. The physicians, who were on the sidelines at SoFi Stadium, have enabled top athletes to excel on the field even after career-threatening injuries.

After the big win, Cedars-Sinai’s Newsroom spoke with the Los Angeles Rams head team physician, Neal S. ElAttrache, MD, co-chair of medical affairs at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute and chief of Sports Medicine at Cedars-Sinai; Christos Photopoulos, MD, Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe sports medicine specialist and surgeon; and Casey Batten, MD, a primary care sports medicine specialist in the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, the sports medicine division of Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedics and the preferred destination for care among professional athletes.

Newsroom: What was it like being on the sidelines for the big win?
ElAttrache: This one was truly a collective joy. The players did this as a team, for each other. When you heard them talk, it was always about each other that they wanted to share this with. I think that was the spirit that has permeated this team for a few years now. I'm just so thrilled to have been a part of it.

Photopoulos: It was truly incredible! To watch the Los Angeles Rams come from behind and win at home, it was something we may never experience again. It was truly, in one word, incredible. It was those last two minutes, which went by in a blur, that was the most memorable experience for me.

Newsroom: What was your focus during the game?
ElAttrache: Everything sort of blends into the background whenever you're a physician taking care of these guys, especially (in) real time on the field, on the sidelines or in the locker room – that takes priority. People were talking about what a great halftime show this was, I didn't see a single second of it because I was in there dealing with our great receiver, OBJ (Odell Beckham Jr.). Everything else takes a backseat for a physician taking care of these teams or a trainer taking care of these guys.

Newsroom: How did the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute team contribute to the Rams’ success? 
ElAttrache: There's no game that goes by that we don't have people on the opposing team that we haven't taken care of as well as our own team. This season especially I think that there were so many impact players on other teams, as well as our own team, that we've collectively taken care of to get them back from bad injuries or keep them on the field. When you're dealing with a team like this, especially a championship caliber team, everybody's contributing. If everybody's not doing their job then you're not going to be as good as you can possibly be and we have really high achievers, very high performers in basically every corner on this team and especially the medical staff. 

Batten: I like working with the medical staff at the Rams and at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute. I think we all just really get along, there's a camaraderie, there's a lot of respect. There's a tremendous, tremendous amount of behind the scenes work that it takes to put a successful football team on the field. It takes a lot of different specialties and a lot of different skills from a lot of different people. Being able to work amongst everyone in that environment, and having a team that wins, each weekend, because every win in the NFL is absolutely hard fought. There's not that many opportunities, that's unique part of this game compared to other sports. I think just being part of that team and having those relationships on a personal and professional level is probably the most rewarding for me.

Photopoulos: As a physician these people are your family. You know them from a personal level, from a professional level, you know their families and part of the excitement that goes into a big game like this is the excitement for these players you want to see them do well. You see the early mornings, you see the late nights and when they win a game like this, we're just very excited for them.

Newsroom: What happens next?
Photopoulos: On Tuesday, two days after the Super Bowl, we all get together for what's called exit physicals. Myself, Drs. Neal ElAttrache, Michael Banffy and Casey Batten sit every player down and we go through all their injuries that occurred from the season to the Super Bowl. At that visit that's when we decide: Who gets MRIs? Who needs more evaluation? Who may need surgery? We'll figure all that out in a couple of days.

Newsroom: How will you be celebrating?
ElAttrache: There's a parade on Wednesday that I know LA will enjoy, it's going to be downtown starting near the Shrine Auditorium and goes to the Coliseum, so there will be a bit of a celebration party there. I think you'll see the joy that these guys have and are experiencing and I couldn't be happier for all these players.

Photopoulos: After the Super Bowl they had a big party for family, friends and players. It was an amazing time and a celebration of all the effort these guys put into this entire year and really it was a celebration of Los Angeles. We as the team physicians were all there last night and joined the festivities.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute Provides World-Class Joint Care for All Athletes and Active Lifestyles