Penguins name new head physician

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The Penguins today named Christopher Harner, president of the American Orthepaedic Society for Sports Medicine, as the team's new head team physician.

He succeeds Charles "Chip" Burke, who was with the team for 24 years.

Although Burke had come under criticism in relation to star center Sidney Crosby's medical treatment for a concussion and neck injury, the Penguins said in a statement that the switch is "part of an overall restructuring of the Penguins' medical program -- a transition spurred by the recent announcement of the new UPMC performance training center and practice rink in Cranberry."

That facility is scheduled to open in 2014 and players will have access there to UPMC doctors in more than 15 specialties.

Harner or one of two others now on the team staff -- associate team physician Tanya Hagen and assistant team physician Dharmesh Vyas -- will travel to all Penguins road games.

In November, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was deemed OK by Canadiens medical staff to return to a game in Montreal after taking a hit to the head. Letang scored the winning goal in overtime, but subsequently was diagnosed with a concussion.

Harner is one of the founders of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine.

"We also would like to thank Dr. Charles Burke, who has been such an integral part of the Penguins' medical team over the past 24 years," Penguins president and chief executive officer David Morehouse said in the team's statement. "We appreciate all the outstanding services provided by Dr. Burke and his team of specialists and wish them the best in the future."

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Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and on Twitter @pgshelly First Published July 20, 2012 12:30 AM


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