By Peter Brennan
The Eagles have had a very active and successful offseason, adding free agents and trading for players such as DeSean Jackson, not to mention having had a good draft.
Now they are focusing on their medical staff.
Arsh Dhanota, the medical director of non-operative sports medicine at Penn Medicine, has been named chief medical officer, according to ESPN.
In this newly created position, he will oversee the entire medical staff and be responsible for streamlining communication throughout all departments.
Meanwhile, the team is parting ways with head team physician and head internist Stephen A. Stache, who was in that role for just one year.
The Eagles significantly altered their medical and training staff following their Super Bowl run in 2017, parting with head internist Gary Dorshimer, head physician Peter DeLuca and head trainer Chris Peduzzi, all of whom had been with the team for close to two decades. Stache and Christopher Dodson replaced Dorshimer and DeLuca, while Jerome Reid, formerly the assistant athletic director of the Tennessee Titans, took over for Peduzzi.
The Eagles had more than a 50% increase in the number of regular-season games lost to injury in 2018. The revamped staff came under public scrutiny as questions surrounding injuries to high-profile members of the Eagles cropped up. There was a perception problem among some players in the locker room when it came to the medical team as the season went along, sources said, one that the addition of Dhanota could help fix.
The split with Stache was described as amicable, as the team viewed his as in an interim role while they looked to fill the position of full-time medical director — now occupied by Dhanota. There has been no indication from the Eagles that the revamping was related to what others described as a lack of full trust between some players and the medical staff.
There was no shortage of injury questions around key players that haven’t been fully explained. Quarterback Carson Wentz was shut down in December after a stress fracture was discovered in his back via a CT scan. Wentz began developing symptoms in early October and was placed on the injury report with a “back” designation. It’s not uncommon for symptoms to precede the detection of a fracture on a scan, medical sources said. Both Wentz and coach Doug Pederson have stated that it’s an injury that evolved over time.
“I’m confident in the medical staff,” Wentz said at the close of the season. “The conversations have been great. We’ve done our due diligence within our staff and then just exploring, getting opinions from everybody so everyone’s on the same page. The open lines of communication have been great in there.”