The Penguins have fired their longtime team physician, Dr. Charles Burke.
Burke, 57, who oversaw center Sidney Crosby’s concussion treatment and Mario Lemieux’s career-long back problems, told the Tribune-Review he was informed July 10 that he and the team’s medical staff were being dismissed.
The team broke the news to him during its prospect camp at Consol Energy Center, Burke said.
The Penguins are replacing their medical team as part of a proposed move by 2014 to a hockey facility in Cranberry that will be in conjunction with UPMC, sources told the Tribune-Review.
The Penguins will use UPMC specialists to oversee medical treatment of personnel next season. There will not be one head team physician, but the Penguins will be only the second NHL team to have a physician traveling with them for every road game.
The arrangement between the team and medical provider is similar to the one the Steelers have with UPMC at their South Side practice facility. Under the proposal, the Penguins would have in-building access to UPMC equipment and medical personnel — and the facility will have specified training and treatment centers that are overseen by UPMC.
The Penguins and UPMC are awaiting approval from Cranberry officials to move forward with their plans.
Burke, an orthopedic surgeon, served as Penguins head physician since the 1988. He was also on the team’s medical staff from 1983-86.
In addition to Burke, EMS workers and vision and dental specialists who worked for the Penguins also were dismissed.
Burke twice cleared Crosby to return to play last season, but Crosby has played in only 63 regular-season games dating to January 2011, when he suffered his concussion.
Crosby sought the outside opinion of several other concussion specialists during his treatment, including physicians in California and Philadelphia.
This is a first, never heard of a team doing this before.