A pioneer in sports medicine, Paul M. Steingard, DO, FACOFP, 87, passed on Feb. 27, 2017. Dr. Steingard, the Phoenix Suns’ first team physician, spent his career advocating for the profession and was well known for providing free physicals to Arizona children in need.
Born on June 12, 1929, Dr. Steingard graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1954 and opened a family practice in the city a year later. He moved to Phoenix in 1962.
During his years of practice, the beloved DO was affectionately known as “Dr. Welby” by patients and staff, referring to the popular television series, “Marcus Welby, MD.”
In 1968, Dr. Steingard became the first team physician for the Phoenix Suns, serving in that role for 23 years and later becoming Team Physician Emeritus. He was also a team physician for the Phoenix Roadrunners Hockey Team, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix College and for the country of Kenya in the 1984 Olympics.
Dr. Steingard embodied the philosophy of osteopathic medicine in his community.
When a physician shortage had Phoenix public schools searching for a provider to give physicals to student athletes in the 1960s, Dr. Steingard offered underserved high school students free physicals. He provided those free checkups to high school athletes for more than 40 years.
That work with students led him to found Team Osteopathic Physicals for Students (TOPS) in partnership with the Arizona Osteopathic Association in 1992. Dr. Steingard believed pre-season sports physicals could save lives by alerting athletes of cardiac irregularities.
The TOPS program now provides over 2,000 annual free sports physicals, including EKGs and ECHOs.
A leader in the profession
Dr. Steingard received countless awards for his humanitarian contributions, including the 2001 Dr. John H. Clark Leadership Award from the Federation of State Medical Boards, Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, and the Distinguished Service Award for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in 1994.
He served three terms as president of the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners in Medicine and Surgery and served on the board for 10 years. He was a fellow of the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Dr. Steingard is survived by his wife, four children, two of whom are DOs, and 11 grandchildren.