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Treating The Boys Of Summer

Treating The Boys Of SummerA Tufts-trained doctor helps keep a professional baseball team healthy. Cincinnati, Ohio.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.27.01] This spring, Cincinnati doctor Tim Kremchek has been making a lot of house calls -- all the way to the spring training baseball fields in Sarasota, Florida.

The Tufts-trained physician is the medical director for the Cincinnati Reds, and during every baseball season he has his hands full.

"The tweaks, bumps and bruises are beginning to pile up on [Kremchek and his team] -- the busiest men in Camp Cincinnati these days," reported the Dayton Daily News.

With multimillion dollar players like Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin under his care, Kremchek told the Boston Globe that he must balance the long-term health of the athletes with their desire to quickly return to action.

"A doctor has to walk a very fine line here," he told the Globe. It's a business, no question about it, and I think a team should be able to dictate somewhat. But a player's health ultimately should be about the player."

But the physician -- who has also worked with Olympic athletes and International Hockey League teams -- said ever-increasing expectations make his work much more complicated.

"An ACL tear used to involve a year and a half to two years of rehab; now it's six months," he said in the Globe's article. "All these things we might not have been able to fix now we not only can fix, but we can bring them back to a higher level. But our advances are so great that our expectations have become too high, the expectations of fans, of teams and of players."

Those insights and the Tufts-trained doctor's work in Cincinnati has helped elevate him as a national expert on sports-related injuries.

When Pedro Martinez -- Boston's star pitcher and last year's Cy Young Award winner -- was hurt last year, the Globe called on Kremchek to provide some expert insight. On Tuesday, the Boston Herald talked to the physician about the wrist injury plaguing Red Sox star shortstop Nomar Garciparra.

"I haven't examined Nomar, but I can tell you that in cases like this, you have to give the tissue adequate time to heal," Kremchek told the Boston newspaper. "Ten (weeks) might be optimistic. You could be looking at closer to three months."

He added, "The approach the Red Sox have taken is the right one."

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