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This sports doctor is on call for students

CUNY Matters—May 15, 2009

Their victory came by one point in the final seconds of a grueling championship game. But for Baruch College's women's basketball team, the real contact sport was the euphoric victory scrum that erupted at midcourt the moment the final buzzer sounded.

From the stands at City College, Dr. Osric King looked on with amusement, if a dash of vigilance — just in case the delirium left any of the players, or perhaps one of their coaches, in need of some medical attention.

Dr. King, an orthopedist and sports medicine specialist with Hospital for Special Surgery, has been a familiar face around University athletics for the past decade. He's a kind of unofficial doctor on call.

The young orthopedist, a Brooklyn native, started with York College, performing pre-season physicals and encouraging coaches and players to call on him whenever they needed an assessment or second opinion of an injury. "I'd tell the kids, 'All right, I'm going to take care of this. We'll see what's going on and in two weeks I'll be back and see how you're doing,'” Dr. King recalls. “For most of the kids this was a foreign experience. They were so happy to have somebody come through; it was kind of inspiring."

"[At] most of the schools, I'm betting nobody wanted to take care of the kids," Dr. King said between games of the recent CUNYAC basketball championships. "I would get a call from the athletic director asking if I could come and do physicals. So I would go down there and I would charge ten dollars. And I would tell them, 'If you have a question about a diagnosis, send them over. You'll never get a bill from me.'"

Needless to say, the schools are grateful. "He goes beyond the call of duty," said Ronald St. John, York College's athletic director and men's basketball coach. "For us, to have a team doctor would be a luxury, but we feel we have that with Dr. King. When we've made the conference finals, he's on the bench with us. It's like he's our doctor."

This story originally appeared at web.cuny.edu.


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