UC San Diego supports 23 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) intercollegiate sports teams. Now, as the 2019-20 season begins, the Tritons will be playing with another team behind them: UC San Diego Health, now the Official Health Care Provider of UC San Diego Athletics.
Through this partnership, Triton scholar-athletes will have access to world-class sports medicine and orthopedics care, including emerging surgical and regenerative techniques, advanced diagnostics and comprehensive rehabilitation for peak performance. They will also benefit from UC San Diego Health’s expertise in primary and preventive care, nutrition education, massage therapy and other programs to promote fitness, mental health and healthy living.
In summer 2020, UC San Diego Athletics will begin a four-year transition into full NCAA Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. Two Triton teams joined the conference early — men’s volleyball in 2017 and women’s water polo in 2019.
“Advancement to NCAA Division I was a reflection of UC San Diego’s culture of collaboration, excellence and innovation,” said Earl W. Edwards, director of athletics at UC San Diego. “And now that continues as we partner with UC San Diego Health’s talented physicians, nurses, surgeons, researchers and staff. Together we are optimally positioned for success.”
Triton scholar-athlete health care will be led by six team physicians — UC San Diego Health’s Catherine M. Robertson, MD, orthopedic surgeon and chief of sports medicine, Bryan T. Leek, MD, orthopedic surgeon, and primary care and sports medicine physicians Amy Leu, DO, Sarah Merrill, MD, Alan Shahtaji, DO, and Kenneth S. Taylor, MD.
“We are proud to partner with Athletics and care for our own Triton athletes, and we’re excited to work together to explore innovative approaches to enhance athletic performance and recovery,” said Patty Maysent, CEO of UC San Diego Health. “Our goal is to provide outstanding, compassionate, seamless care for our scholar-athletes, so they can be their best in the classroom, on the field, in the pool, or wherever they compete. Go, Tritons!”
UC San Diego Tritons have won 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and 1,400 All-American honors. One of these elite scholar-athletes is cognitive science major Christian Oshita.
In the fall of 2018, Oshita was headed into what should’ve been his last and best collegiate season as a forward on the UC San Diego men’s basketball team. That is, until an awkward rebound during pre-season practice resulted in a partially dislocated shoulder and torn labrum, the fibrous piece of cartilage that helps keep the ball of the shoulder joint in its socket.
Oshita had long discussions with his coach, athletic trainers and Leek, a UC San Diego Health orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports and upper extremity injuries and also serves as associate team physician for the San Diego Padres and San Diego Seals lacrosse team. By the time Oshita learned what the surgery would entail and felt like he fully understood all of the options, he says he was “all in.”
Leek performed the procedure, known as an arthroscopic Bankart repair, in December 2018. Leek compares the injury to a hammock where one side has fallen off the tree. In this procedure, he says he essentially reattached that side of the “hammock” and tightened it back up.
“The average person might not need surgery for a labral tear in the shoulder, but most high-level athletes like Christian do because they demand so much of themselves, and they need to be able to perform without thinking about it,” Leek said. “Christian was a pleasure to work with because he was so invested in his own recovery and took his rehabilitation very seriously. He was truly interested in the healing process, not just in getting back to basketball.”
Now Oshita says he’s back at 100 percent, and has just one goal for this season: “Win as many games as possible.”
You can see Oshita on court Tuesday, November 19 at 7:00 p.m. PT at RIMAC Arena or streamed live on ESPN3, as the UC San Diego men’s basketball team takes on Point Loma Nazarene University. For the full 2019-20 Triton sports schedule, visit ucsdtritons.com.
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