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American Family Children's Hospital

Badger Basketball Team Physician On Call On Bench for Tournament

Wisconsin Badger basketball playerMadison, Wisconsin – The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team advanced to the Final Four for the second straight year, which means UW Health Sports Medicine's Dr. Warren Dunn will be punching his ticket again, as well. 


As head of the University of Wisconsin's division of Sports Medicine and team physician for the Badger men's basketball team, Dr. Dunn will accompany the team to Indianapolis. His main function on game night - or nights, we hope, because Wisconsin will play for the national championship Monday night if it deals Kentucky its first loss of the year - is to address any in-game injury issues that plague the Badgers.


This season is Dr. Dunn's second on the Badger bench, though he provided the same service for the men's team during his time at his previous job, at Vanderbilt University.


With an athletic trainer in support, he keeps careful watch on the players, tending to lesser injuries –  bumps and bruises, small cuts that need to be stanched before the player can return to the court - on the bench and retreating to the training room at the Kohl Center if he suspects something more serious may have occurred.


Dr. Dunn, monitoring the action from the Badger bench."It depends on the nature of the injury," Dr. Dunn says, adding that the training room facilities are equipped with everything he needs for a thorough examination, including a fluoroscopy machine, should x-rays be needed to rule out fractures. "The one thing that is really nice is that it's a private room, so we don't have to worry about privacy issues."


His work is guided by one overarching principle. It's Dr. Dunn's responsibility to determine whether returning to the game would threaten the player's health. Perhaps surprisingly, given the competitiveness of athletes, he rarely has to talk down a player who wants to return to the court too soon.


"The kids are really good about listening to our recommendations," he says, noting one exception that can try a player's patience. "The only time it might be an issue is with concussion. We are very conservative if we think players have been concussed and follow the guidelines strictly in terms of return to play."


A fan as well as a physician – "I love college basketball," he says – Dr. Dunn emphasizes the latter during games, while making slight allowances for the former.


"As long as I'm discreet, I can root for the Badgers," he says, though he laughs when he makes it clear his behavior is considerably more subdued than many of the Kohl Center's courtside patrons. "It certainly would be inappropriate for me to make comments to the ref."

Date Published: 03/30/2015

News tag(s):  sports

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