My nominee is Paul M. Steingard, DO. For 46 years, Dr. Steingard has been
providing free physicals to Arizona high school athletes. Since 1985 he has
reached about 2000 students annually. In the past 15 years the Arizona
Osteopathic Medical Association, Arizona Heart Institute, John C. Lincoln
Hospital and Midwestern University have come on board with Dr. Steingard to
reach approximately 4000 students annually. There is no cost to the
students and with the addition of the Heart Institute, students now receive
a free EKG and, if necessary, an echocardiogram (ECHO). The value of all
exams is about $1000 (or $2000 if an ECHO is performed). About 500
physicians (both DO’s and MD’s), medical students and others volunteer at
each of the three free physicals in the Greater Phoenix area. There are
also TOPS programs in other states, thanks to Dr. Steingard.
Sudden Cardiac Death is the leading cause of death in young athletes; more
than 300 young athletes in the U.S. die of this annually. So far this
school year (which just started two weeks ago), two deaths have been
Osteopathic Physician, Dr.Paul M. Steingard, whose vision has not only
improved the lives of young athletes for nearly 50 years but also literally saved lives.
As a father of four, Dr. Paul certainly had enough going on in his life that he
did not need to add this time consuming program to his activities. But he saw a
need, high school students needed physicals to play sports; some parents could
not afford the physicals so the students could not participate; he wanted to
be sure that all students were physically fit before they went out to participate
in team sports. Dr. Steingard also lobbied successfully at the Arizona Legislature
to mandate fluids during football practice and that when not playing the
students should remove their helmets. He was in his 30’s when he started
this program; Dr. Steingard is now 82 years young. He should be recognized,
not only for his work, but so that what he has done will inspire other
physicians throughout the country to establish a program like TOPS (Team of
Physicians for Students, http://www.aztops.org
Dr. Paul Steingard is a Phoenix osteopathic physician who is board certified
in family Dr. Paul Steingardpractice and sports medicine. He is a Fellow of
the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine and a Fellow of The
American College of Sports Medicine.
He founded TOPS in 1992. He spent 23 years as the team physician for the
Phoenix Suns and is now Team Physician Emeritus. He credits his work with
the Phoenix Suns for the success he has had in bringing credibility to the
world of sports medicine.
Throughout his medical career, Dr. Steingard has performed more than 100,000
physicals, taking care of student athletes at the high school and college
levels. He has also been team physician of the Phoenix Roadrunners Hockey
Team, for Grand Canyon University, Phoenix College and numerous Phoenix area
high schools. He was also team physician for Kenya in the 1984 Olympics.
Dr. Steingard completed his undergraduate work at Penn State University and
attended Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he received his
D.O. He is the recipient of numerous accolades, including the local
Distinguished Arizonan award by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the
National Football Foundation, the HON KACHINA award given for volunteerism
and charity work, the Irv Vinnik Distinguished Service Award given by the
Society of Physicians of the National Basketball Association and was named
2005 AOMA Physician of the Year. He has published numerous scientific
articles and authored 45 articles for his sports medicine column in the
He serves on the boards of a number of sports related organizations
including the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
He is Vice President of the Grand Canyon State Games and is a member of the
Board of Trustees of Midwestern University.
Here is a quote from Dr. Steingard in 2009: “Traditional thinking cites the
high cost of EKGs and Echocardiograms as being prohibitive,” Dr. Paul M.
Steingard, D.O., founder of the program now known as TOPS, explained. “The
cost of those tests can range up to $1000, when done by private physicians.
When done in mass by volunteers, there is no cost to the athlete. Every
student athlete receives an EKG, which is read by a volunteer cardiologist
from the Arizona Heart Institute. Last year, six of the more than 2300
students tested at Sunnyslope were found to have cardiac related issues; 95
others had high blood pressure and an additional 22 had a variety of other
medical concerns. Two other TOPS programs were held last year in Maricopa
County drawing an additional 1300 students.”
Thank you, Derrick, for considering Dr. Paul M. Steingard for your Honoree
award. Dr. Steingard is a blessing to all who know him. He was the first
Team Physician for the NBA Phoenix Suns and was one of three physicians who
founded Sports Medicine as a medical specialty in 1969. I first met Dr.
Steingard when I was working as a sports reporter in 1977; he has been my
physician since 1984.