In its 10th year as the official medical services provider to the US Open Tennis Championships, Mount Sinai's team of orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians continued to provide its repertoire of vital services to the world’s top players from the sidelines of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York. These services, provided throughout the three-week-long event, included a record number of ultrasounds used primarily to diagnose overuse injuries spanning the upper and lower extremities.
“Each year, the United States Tennis Association and the world's top-ranked players put their trust in Mount Sinai’s elite team of specialists to provide the highest level of treatment and medical care,” says Alexis Colvin, MD, Professor of Orthopedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Colvin has served as Chief Medical Officer for the US Open for the past five years, leading teams that care not only for athletes, but for spectators and staff. “We’ve responded by constantly discovering and applying new scientific knowledge to create better and safer treatments for the tennis pros, as well as the juniors and wheelchair athletes who participate in the tournament,” she notes.
Radiology and Mental Health Services Increasingly Popular With Athletes
Radiology, in particular, continued to serve as an important way for the medical team to extend its clinical reach. “As word has spread among the athletes about our radiology services, they’ve become increasingly popular,” says Dr. Colvin, whose association with the US Open began in 2009 when she began working for the tournament as a physician. “We have orthopedic surgeons on site to formulate treatment plans based on this real-time imaging. And in most cases, our efficient care enables tennis players to return quickly and safely to competition.”
For a second year, tournament participants were also offered mental health services from a Mount Sinai sports psychologist who was regularly available for issues ranging from anxiety and stress to depression to other performance-related concerns.
“The US Open is one of the last tournaments of the circuit for players who have been traveling internationally year-round, and when they get to New York, they know they can get the very best treatment from our specialists for not just on-court issues, but other health care concerns they may have,” says Dr. Colvin.
Mount Sinai has also leveraged its participation in the US Open to encourage greater physical activity among youth, such as its sponsorship of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day (named after the legendary tennis champion) with activities that feature fun on-court physical challenges.
“We’ve found this program to be a great way to motivate kids to stay fit and healthy,” says James Gladstone, MD, Chief of the Sports Medicine Service and Associate Professor of Orthopedics at Icahn Mount Sinai. “It also underscores how we continue to build on our long-standing partnership with the US Open.”
Reflecting on a Decade of Service
This year, COVID-19 did not prompt extraordinary public health and safety measures for Dr. Colvin and her medical team, who in previous years of the pandemic worked closely with the sponsoring United States Tennis Association to ensure attendees were safe. In fact, this year’s event had a noticeably pre-pandemic feel in terms of numbers of spectators and the lifting of many, though not all, health restrictions in accordance with New York State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policies, thanks largely to widespread vaccinations. There were no reported cases of COVID-19 among participants.
Reflecting on the past decade, Dr. Colvin takes particular pride in the unwavering level of service the multidisciplinary Mount Sinai team has provided, even during the most challenging times. In addition to Dr. Colvin, Mount Sinai’s team of orthopedic sports medicine experts included Dr. Gladstone; Shawn Anthony, MD, MBA; Melissa Leber, MD; Aruna Seneviratne, MD; Eric Small, MD; and new members Maggie Gonzalez and Philip Moris, both medical assistants.
“The US Open has been a tremendous opportunity for us to provide comprehensive care for the entire athlete,” says Dr. Colvin. “It has allowed us to showcase the world-leading medical care that Mount Sinai provides on the local, national, and international stages.”
Alexis Chiang Colvin, MD
Professor of Orthopedics
James Gladstone, MD
Chief of the Sports Medicine Service and Associate Professor of Orthopedics