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  October 12, 2004

Orthopaedic Surgeon A National
Figure In Sports Medicine

Orthopaedic sports medicine expert Dr. Robert Arciero, has achieved many professional accolades through the years, including multiple appearances in the annual "Top Doc" list in Connecticut Magazine and recognition from many national orthopaedic societies. Now he can add a bronze medal and a championship jersey to his roster of awards.

Arciero was the team physician for the U.S. Men's National Ice Hockey Team during the 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men's World Championship this spring in the Czech Republic.

Team USA brought home a bronze medal, marking only the second time in 40 years that an American team has brought a medal home from the IIHF Men's World Championship.

Image: Robert Arciero

Dr. Robert Arciero, orthopaedic surgeon, is a key figure in the Health Center's musculoskeletal health signature program.

"I have always felt privileged to work with UConn athletes," says Arciero, "so to be asked to serve on this level, with professional, elite athletes, was very special." Along with other sports medicine experts from the UConn Health Center, he serves as a team physician for the UConn Huskies.

Arciero is a professor in the Health Center's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and has expertise in all facets of sports medicine. He specializes in shoulder and knee repairs. He was selected for the Team USA position from a roster of some 2,000 orthopaedists who are part of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

Orthopaedists from this organization are chosen to be team doctors for major events for the Men's USA Hockey Team, the Women's USA Hockey Team, the National Junior Hockey Team, and the Olympic Games. So there is a chance Arciero could also be tapped for the Winter Games in Turin, Italy in 2006.

"Being part of Team USA was a great experience," Arciero says. "We had a top-flight team of trainers and medical support staff, not to mention an amazing team of athletes, all of whom were professional, including many NHL players and NHL coach Peter Laviolette from the Carolina Hurricanes."

"Our kids played very hard and very well," Arciero says, noting that none of the players experienced any major injuries. "There were a few strains and lacerations and one concussion, but nothing really bad. We were pretty healthy."

"For Team USA to win a medal in the Czech Republic, which is such a hockey-crazed country, is just a phenomenal accomplishment," Arciero adds. The gold medal went to Canada and the silver to Sweden.

Signature Expertise
Arciero is a lifelong sports fan. Growing up, he played football, baseball, and basketball. His career as an athlete ended abruptly with a baseball injury in college. But when Arciero observed the skill and expertise of the orthopaedic surgeon who cared for his injury, he decided that was the career for him.

After receiving his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine, Arciero trained as an orthopaedic resident at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., and completed a sports medicine fellowship with Dr. John Feagin in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and at the U.S. Military Academy/Keller Army Hospital in West Point, N.Y.

He joined the Health Center faculty in 2000 from West Point, where he had served as director of the U.S. Army's Joint and Soft Tissue Trauma Fellowship and was the head team physician for intercollegiate athletic programs.

"Recruiting Bob Arciero was a real prize for the Health Center," says Dr. Bruce Browner, chair of the department of orthopaedics. "He is truly a national figure in sports medicine and is a true asset not only to our clinical, research, and teaching enterprises, but also to the development of the signature program in musculoskeletal health."

Musculoskeletal health is one of the Health Center's three clinical signature programs, together with cancer and cardiovascular care. The purpose of the signature programs is to synthesize and grow the Health Center's special clinical and research strengths. The Health Center's fourth signature program, Connecticut Health, focuses on public health and community-based initiatives.

Looking to the Future
Arciero says he is optimistic about the future of the musculoskeletal signature program and looks forward to the opening of the new Medical Arts and Research Building on the Health Center campus in early 2005.

The new building will bring under one roof many of the key components of the musculoskeletal program including orthopaedics, care for patients with osteoporosis, rheumatology services, endocrinology services, spine and neurosurgery services, as well as physical therapy, imaging, and other services.

"The new facilities, with an improved biomechanics lab and bioskills lab, will facilitate our ability to investigate how to improve soft tissue healing and repair. This will also promote advances in care of the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, ligament, and cartilage injuries," he says.

Putting all the components of musculoskeletal medicine under one roof will also greatly improve the coordination of joint research and clinical programs, he adds: "The end result will be advances in patient care."