Dr. Yagnik


Team Physician for Florida Panthers: Toughest Athletes I've Seen Play

Baptist Health Orthopedic Care

It's been 27 years since the Florida Panthers last advanced to the Stanley Cup final. Taking on Vegas Golden Knights, the Panthers made it through an amazing season in generally good health, considering the unique grind of a regular hockey season and subsequent playoff rounds, explains Gautam Yagnik, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Baptist Health Orthopedic Care, and head team physician for the Florida Panthers and team physician for the Miami Dolphins. 

“This year has been amazing, primarily because it's been a little bit unexpected,” recounts Dr. Yagnik. “Last year, we had a great regular season but it didn't work out the way we wanted in the playoffs. This year has been the opposite. We've had to fight and claw to get into the playoffs -- and then just to see the team make this unbelievable run -- has been amazing.”


(Watch video now: Hear from Gautam Yagnik, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Baptist Health Orthopedic Care, and head team physician for the Florida Panthers and team physician for the Miami Dolphins.)

The Panthers’ 4-3 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes completed a four-game sweep of the Eastern Conference Final. The Panthers are in the Cup Final as the third team in NHL history to eliminate three of the League's top four teams in the same post-season after defeating the Boston Bruins (No. 1) in seven games in the first round; and the Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 4) in five games in the second round before their sweep of the Hurricanes (No. 2).

Despite the grind of the playoffs, the Panthers have stayed relatively healthy, said Dr. Yagnik, who has also provided orthopedic coverage for Super Bowl LIV, BCS (College Football) National Championship Game, Capitol One Orange Bowl, Miami Open and NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. His experience caring for elite sport athletes provides the expertise he uses to treat all of his orthopedic patients.

“The playoffs definitely bring a new challenge when it comes to the health of the players,” he explains. “The intensity ratchets up, and the schedule is usually even more intense. There are fewer days off. And so it's really incumbent upon the entire medical staff -- as well as the athletic training staff, physical therapy staff, and strength and conditioning staff -- to really come together.

“And it truly does take a village to help support the team in terms of their medical care and help get them ready to play. And fortunately, we have one of the best medical staffs and athletic training staffs, in my opinion, in the league.”

What’s a game day like for the Florida Panthers’ medical staff?

“Some of our game-day prep is reviewing our emergency action plan, making sure that everyone is there in attendance and knows what to do in case of a major injury,” said Dr. Yagnik. “And then, it's also checking on the players prior to the game to see if any of these injuries that we had discussed earlier need any special attention prior to the game. Obviously, if anything occurs during the game, we're going to tend to that. We do have X-ray and certain imaging modalities that we can use at the stadium itself. And then postgame, we're coming up with the diagnoses and plans for the future.”

Hockey players represent a unique breed of professional athletes, known for playing through bumps and bruises.

“They’re a different breed … some of the toughest athletes that I've seen play, really, at any level,” said Dr. Yagnik. “And this time of year, it's extremely important to them. They're very dedicated to their profession and their craft. And this is the hardest trophy in sports to win for a reason  -- because of the grind. To watch these guys battle through some of the injuries is really impressive.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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