Sports Medicine Surgeon offers a doctor’s perspective on Dodgers’ newest superstar.
The Dodgers will unwrap their spectacular holiday prize Thursday with the introductory news conference of Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar and two-time American League most valuable player. There’s global appeal with the event scheduled for Thursday afternoon because that’s Friday morning for the audience in Japan.
Missing from the festivities will be Dodgers team physician Neal ElAttrache, who has a full slate of NFL surgeries to perform.
For him, it’s a routine Thursday.
“It’s not that I don’t think it’s a monumental day, a great day for the Dodgers and Los Angeles,” ElAttrache told The Times this week. “But there are things I’ve got to do.”
When it comes to Ohtani, ElAttrache was there for the essential parts.
Among the patients of the world-renowned surgeon are some of the most prominent athletes, including Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Conor McGregor, Georges St. Pierre, Klay Thompson, Jamal Murray, Cooper Kupp and Clayton Kershaw. ElAttrache repaired Kobe Bryant’s knee, shoulder and Achilles tendon.
During the last two decades, Los Angeles has become a mecca of sports medicine.
“Every Sunday night I watch ‘SportsCenter’ and I kind of know what my week’s going to be like,” said ElAttrache, who has spent his entire career at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic.
ElAttrache performed two Tommy John elbow operations on Ohtani, the first in 2018 and the second in September.
Judging by the money involved, the Dodgers are banking on Ohtani’s full recovery. His 10-year, $700-million deal is believed to be the richest in sports history and by far the biggest in Major League Baseball, eclipsing Mike Trout’s $426.5 million.
“The Dodgers weren’t the only ones interested in giving [Ohtani] over half a billion dollars,” ElAttrache said. “There were a lot of teams that were in that ballpark.
“They all looked at the operation notes. They all had their doctors look at, ‘Is this guy going to be able to come back and be a two-way player? The money we’re paying, is it just for hitting? Is it for hitting and fielding? Or is it for hitting, fielding and pitching?’
“I guarantee you it’s one of the most scrutinized medical conditions ever studied.”
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