Home » Dr. Rubin and Management of Diving Injuries
Shoulder in Diving
2010 United States Aquatic Sports Convention
Dr. Rubin first became involved in the care of divers when he was a fellow in Sports Medicine at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles in 1979 when he began a research project to determine the incidence of injuries in competitive divers in the United States. Prior to that there was virtually no information available about the incidence or types of injuries, and he reasoned that if no one knew what injuries were occurring then injury prevention programs were not feasible. His study determined that 92% of high level competitive divers had sustained injuries that kept them out of practice or competition for at least one week, and the most frequently injured areas were the shoulder, back and wrist.
When he entered private practice in Orange County, CA in 1979 he immediately began working with Dr. Ron O’Brien and his Mission Viejo Nadadores team to learn more about the sport of diving. Ron was the Olympic diving coach and many of the team members were or would become Olympians, and most were on the National Diving team. Under Ron’s tutelage, as well as that of Glenn McCormick, Dr. Rubin studied diving mechanics and began to apply biomechanical principles to the techniques of diving in order to decrease the incidence and severity of injuries. He developed a close personal working relationship with Ron and his divers, and soon began to evaluate and treat divers from all over the country and around the world as word spread that there was a doctor at competitions that actually differentiated between swimmers and divers and understood the sport and the athletes involved in it.
Dr. Rubin became the doctor for the National team in 1982 and traveled to many national and international diving meets eventually recruiting a group of like minded physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, trainers and massage therapists from around the U.S. who were willing to donate their services to evaluate and treat competitive divers and travel with them for meet coverage. In 1987, his group became the Sports Medicine Committee for United States Diving, and he chaired or co-chaired the committee until 2003. With the group of volunteer healthcare professionals the USA Diving Sports Medicine program became one of the most recognized National Governing Body programs in the USOC, running frequent training camps for the Senior and Junior National teams, and developing individualized training programs in conjunction with diving coaches, while providing medical coverage for senior and junior national and international competitions, Olympic trials, Olympic Games and World Championships.
The diving community became accustomed to his presence at international meets, including the Olympic Games in 1984, 1988 and 1992, and the World Championships in 1991, and routinely approached him to evaluate and treat divers and coaches from around the world. He has successfully operated on elite divers from many countries including the U.S., Mexico, Russia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Korea and Hungary and has treated divers from Australia, New Zealand, South America, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Japan, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Many of the athletes that he has treated have competed at the Olympic Games and World Championships and quite a few have won medals at those competitions.
He continues to be active in the diving community, taking care of local diving clubs including the Mission Viejo Nadadores and the McCormick divers, and caring for divers from outside of California who regularly fly in for evaluation and surgical treatment for their injuries. He is frequently contacted by coaches and divers from around the world by phone and/or email to consult on injuries to help determine the appropriate course of treatment. Often they send their medical information, including x-rays and MRIs for his opinion and he discusses his experience with similar injuries in this specific group of athletes.