After a season that saw the Falcons register 80-game starts loss to injury to projected starters, they appointed a new team doctor on Tuesday.
Dr. Kyle Hammond, an orthopedic surgeon at the Emory Sports Medicine Center, has been named the Falcons’ head team doctor after serving as an associate team doctor the past three years. Dr. Brandon Mines will continue to serve in the role as the primary care sports medicine specialist.
Hammond also serves as the head orthopedic surgeon for the Hawks, as well as associate team physician for the Braves, Georgia Tech, Emory University, and several metro Atlanta high schools.
“Kyle has quickly established himself as an expert in the field of sports medicine while developing a high level of trust with those under his care and supervision,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team.
Hammond will be the point person on a team of 15 Emory surgeons and non-surgical sports doctors who will provide services to the Falcons, according to Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center director Dr. Scott D. Boden.
Hammond has also served as team doctor for the Steelers, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh athletics, Duquesne University athletics and the Pittsburgh ballet.
Dr. Spero Karas served as the Falcons’ head team physician from 2011-18.
“The Falcons would also like to thank Dr. Spero Karas for his outstanding service over the past eight seasons,” Dimitroff said in a statement. “We extend our greatest appreciation for the care, professionalism, and dedication he has shown to our players, coaches and the entire organization.”
Karas caome on at a difficult time for the franchise.
In May 2010, the Falcons became so concerned about the excessive reliance on pain killers by players that the issue eventually reached the desk of owner Arthur Blank, according to a court filing in 2017.
A string of emails containing the information was entered into a California court record as part of a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by more than 1,800 former NFL players, who claim that NFL teams fostered an atmosphere that led to the abuse of painkillers over the long-term health concerns for players.
Some of the emails went from Falcons trainer Marty Lauzon to Dimitroff to Blank, who then had president Rich McKay handle the matter.
One of the emails concerned the review by an outside agency that found the team spent $81,000 on prescriptions for medications for players in 2009, nearly three times the league average, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“That’s being litigated now. That’s not something we’re going discuss right now,” Dimitroff said at the time. “When the time is right, we’ll re-address that.”
The team would not comment on the matter at the time of the report.
In the wake of the episode, the Falcons switched team doctors, bringing in Karas, an orthopedic surgeon at the Emory Sports Medicine Center in August 2011. Dr. Jeffrey Webb, also of Emory, was also hired as consulting physician.
Dr. Scott Gillogly was the team’s previous doctor. He also was the team doctor for the NHL’s Thrashers.