Specialty: Sports Medicine
Special Expertise: Sports Injuries, Knee and Shoulder Surgery
Hospitals: Nyack Hospital; Good Samaritan Hospital
Melding his love of sports and orthopedic medicine, Richard L. Popowitz, MD, is a surgeon whose work encompasses academia, a private practice with Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Nanuet, and a 13-year stint as the assistant team physician for the Miami Marlins. After graduating from Yale University, Dr. Popowitz earned his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and pursued further sports medicine and orthopedic training at Stanford University and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. He also conducts student athlete physicals as an associate professor at Dominican College in Orangeburg.
What are the most common injuries you see?
I am board certified in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery. That’s everything from ankle sprains to complex injuries involving the shoulder rotator cuff and the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus.
What are the biggest challenges in your work?
Orthopedics are challenging because it’s a specialty that’s constantly evolving. It’s critical to stay on top of the latest and greatest techniques.
What is your patient care philosophy?
I’d like to be the kind of doctor my father was — he was an orthopedic surgeon in Rockland County for more than 25 years. I like to treat patients like I treat my family.
Talk about working with the Miami Marlins.
Since 2004, I’ve been the assistant team physician for the Miami Marlins, and holding responsibility for them when they play in the Northeast. I conduct spring training physicals to clear the athletes to play. Physicals for professional athletes definitely involve more detective work. Players are not allowed to play until they pass their physicals. So, they tend to push hard to get back on the field. There’s definitely motivation to produce — especially at contract negotiation time.
What’s one of your most memorable cases?
I can’t mention names for patient privacy reasons, but I helped an elite football player return to the NFL after a knee injury and continue his career for another 12 years.
Who are the toughest athletes?
Football players are actually not the toughest athletes. In fact, cheerleading is twice as dangerous as football.
What drew you to orthopedics/sports medicine?
I played a lot of sports growing up; I’m definitely a baseball fan. When you practice orthopedics, you get immediate results. You can see the effects right away.