“Team Talk”: Managing Athlete Expectations and Pain After Injuries

Day One: June 11, 2018

11:50 AM – 12:20 PM


Speaker: Bryan Vopat, MD

Staff Physician, University of Kansas Health System Center for Sports Medicine; Assistant Team Physician for the Kansas City Royals

Session Description:

Athletic injuries may fall anywhere on the spectrum of minor to career-ending. Regardless of the prognosis, injuries can sideline the athlete both physically and mentally. This session will focus on the team behind the team’s approach to getting an athlete back on their feet physically, with special attention given to managing athlete expectations and pain.  Dr. Bryan Vopat’s recent research on the effects of injuries on NFL players and their careers will provide relevant content for discussion. Considerations for sports medicine practitioners around recovery protocols and alternatives to prescribing opioids will also be discussed.


By the end of the presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe researched outcomes of NFL players after injuries to the lower extremities (knee, ankle, foot).
  • Apply general lessons from injury protocols and outcomes in NFL players to athletes within other sports programs.
  • Summarize the roles of the “team behind the team” in managing athlete expectations and pain management following a sports injury.


Speaker Bio:

Dr. Vopat attended The University of Kansas for his undergraduate and medical school education. He then completed his Orthopedic Surgery residency and a trauma fellowship at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. To further develop his athletic specialization, Dr. Vopat completed a Sports Medicine fellowship through Harvard Medical School at Massachusetts General Hospital. There he helped take care of the New England Revolution, Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. He followed this with a Foot and Ankle fellowship through Harvard Medical School at Massachusetts General Hospital.

During his Sports Medicine fellowship, he received the nationally recognized Herodicus Traveling Fellowship Award, which enabled him to learn firsthand from the nation’s leaders in sports medicine. He also recently received a research grant from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.

Dr. Vopat’s interests include participating in groundbreaking sports medicine research. Throughout his career, he has been involved in research that includes reviewing recommendations for the aging athlete and supplemental ACL fixation.  Most recently, he researched the effects of injuries on NFL players and their careers. He is currently a team doctor for multiple local high schools and an assistant team doctor for the Kansas City Royals.