Peter MacArthur, MD, grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, rooting for his home team. “I’ve been a Redskins fan my whole life,” he says.
Starting in the 2016 season, he was able see his team in action from the sidelines, as one of the Redskins’ team physicians.
MacArthur is a board-certified primary care doctor with fellowship training in sports medicine. He also serves as a consultant physician for the Washington Nationals and treats patients of all sorts and skill levels as a member of Inova Medical Group’s Sports Medicine team.
While working with the Redskins is exciting, MacArthur says, it’s not all fun and games. “Your role as a team physician is to provide the best possible medical care for your athletes, and we take that very seriously,” he notes. And while it’s rewarding to help injured players get back on the field, MacArthur is less worried about scoring touchdowns than keeping his players healthy.
“People often think of NFL players as big stars, but they’re people like everyone else,” he says. “My goal is to treat each of them not only as a player, but as a person, and to really have their best interests at heart.”
MacArthur has always been interested in sports, both as a fan and as an athlete. He competed on the golf team as an undergrad at Tufts University, and crossed the finish line of the Baltimore Marathon while in medical school at the University of Maryland. These days, when he’s not treating patients or spending time with his family, he runs, bikes, golfs and plays recreational basketball and competitive Ultimate Frisbee.
With a background in both primary care and sports medicine, his duties with the Redskins run the gamut, from treating primary care issues like ear infections and the flu to diagnosing and treating all sorts of sports injuries, including tendon tears, hematomas and concussions.
He has a particular interest in using ultrasound, both to diagnose and to treat injuries. With ultrasound, doctors can diagnose injuries such as muscle or tendon injuries without leaving the locker room. Ultrasound is also useful for guiding injections of treatments, such as platelet-rich plasma and regenerative stem cells, which can promote healing and recovery in damaged tissues.
MacArthur also has a strong interest in evaluating players suspected of having a concussion, and managing care in those diagnosed with concussion. He says he is impressed by the strict protocol the NFL has in place to identify and protect players who might have head injuries. “The NFL is doing a lot to make the game safer,” he says.
Getting Players Back in the Game
Team dynamics are important for winning football games, and teamwork is just as essential for the players’ medical providers, MacArthur says. He works closely with other primary care doctors, orthopedic surgeons and specialists including nutritionists, chiropractors and athletic trainers to keep the players healthy. “We all collaborate over every player,” he says. “It really does take a team.”
Working with such a top-notch team of medical experts has been a highlight of his career experience so far, MacArthur says. But helping injured players get back on the field is also high on his list.
“The most rewarding part of this job is when I can get a player back to his or her sport more quickly than anticipated.”
Inova Sports Medicine provides a personalized team approach writing a comprehensive game plan for each individual patient in order to get them back to play healthier, stronger, safely and as quick as possible. Peter MacArthur sees patients in Arlington, VA and Fairfax, VA. Call 1-844-453-1139 for more information or to schedule an appointment.