HALL OF FAME SPOTLIGHT: Sports Doctor Bruce Thomas Loves Helping Players Excel

By  //  April 20, 2017

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SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME

ABOVE VIDEO: Dr. Bruce Thomas feels he may be the luckiest physician alive, for his job in sports medicine puts him right in the thick of the exciting world of elite professional athletes.

DR. BRUCE THOMAS – 2015 INDUCTEE

Dr. Bruce Thomas

Dr. Bruce Thomas

• Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals Team Physician
• USTA, LPGA Medical Director

LUCKIEST PHYSICIAN ALIVE

Dr. Bruce Thomas feels he may be the luckiest physician alive, for his job in sports medicine puts him right in the thick of the exciting world of elite professional athletes.

“I really do have to pinch myself,” said the Melbourne physician. “It is such a privilege. I love it intensely. I love helping the players.”

For a sports fanatic with a family lineage rooted in baseball, being the senior medical consultant and spring training team physician for the Washington Nationals is indeed a dream come true.

His father played minor league baseball for the Boston Braves, and his great uncle, New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt, was Babe Ruth’s roommate while the team was on the road.

Thomas grew up in Maryland, rooting for the Orioles and at one point thinking he stood a good chance at the major leagues.

His father played minor league baseball for the Boston Braves, and his great uncle, New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt, was Babe Ruth’s roommate while the team was on the road.

Dr. Bruce Thomas’ great uncle, New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt, was Babe Ruth’s roommate while the team was on the road.

Eventually, however, Thomas realized that medicine, not baseball, should be his career path.

As it turns out, he was able to combine both, with golf, tennis and wrestling, to boot.

Sports medicine was a relatively new field in the 1980s, when Thomas first began ministering to the local high school sports teams.

The work encouraged him to seek board certification in sports medicine and he blended his original family practice with sports medicine.

In 1993, when the Florida Marlins picked Viera for the team’s spring training site, they looked for a specialist in sports injuries.

netted him a World Series ring when the team he helped keep in shape made off with the 1997 world championship.

Dr. Bruce Thomas’ association with the Florida Marlins netted him a World Series ring when the team he helped keep in shape made off with the 1997 world championship.

Thomas was the only local physician in the field at that time.

For the next nine years, Thomas would serve as the Marlins’ spring training physician.

The association even netted him a World Series ring when the team he helped keep in shape made off with the 1997 world championship.

After the Marlins left Brevard, Thomas became the team physician for the Brevard County Manatees minor league team and for the Montreal Expos. The Expos morphed into the Washington Nationals in 2004.

He also served as a physician for the United States Tennis Association, the World Baseball Classic, USA Wrestling and the China National Baseball Team during the Beijing Olympics.

Dr. Bruce Thomas, center, with Dave McConnell, the Washington Nationals security director for spring training, left, and Mike McGowan, the Washington Nationals assistant athletic trainer. (SpaceCoastDaily.com image)

Dr. Bruce Thomas, center, with Dave McConnell, the Washington Nationals security director for spring training, left, and Mike McGowan, the Washington Nationals assistant athletic trainer. (SpaceCoastDaily.com image)

BRUCE-THOMAS-580-3

Dr. Bruce Thomas served as a physician for the China National Baseball Team during the Beijing Olympics. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Dr. Bruce Thomas served as a physician for the United States Tennis Association, the World Baseball Classic, USA Wrestling and the China National Baseball Team during the Beijing Olympics.

Since 2007, Dr. Bruce Thomas has been the medical director for the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association, often helping as many as 100 golfers on a weekend with issues that range from everything from migraines to spinal problems. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

SERVICE TO LOCAL PLAYERS MOST GRATIFYING

Since 2007, he has been the medical director for the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association, often helping as many as 100 golfers on a weekend with issues that range from everything from migraines to spinal problems.

BRUCE-THOMAS-580-12He has amassed a network of high-level specialists he can tap wherever the athletes happen to be playing around the world.

While with the Marlins, he once ran into O.J. Simpson, who had heard of his connection with the Marlins and sought his help.

“He asked me to look at his knee, which was really swollen, so we went back to his suite and I gave him an injection to help,” said Thomas.

Thomas’ work with high-profile athletes is indeed glamorous and exciting, but it is his service to local players that he most values as a physician.

“I really enjoy helping young athletes,” said Thomas.

“They may not be famous, but they deserve to stay on the playing field and I want to make that happen for them. That’s the real sports medicine.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Induction Dinner, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com


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