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Health Issues Cause Chao to Step Down; Wahl Joins Staff
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San Diego Chargers Team Doctor David Chao has notified the club that he has decided to step down due to health reasons and to spend more time with his family.
Dr. Christopher Wahl, the chief of sports medicine at the UC San Diego Health System, will replace Chao as Head Team Physician.
Dr. Chao has provided dedicated service to the Chargers for the past 17 years, since beginning his affiliation with the team in 1996. Chao will remain on through the duration of the offseason as a resource for the team to help ensure a smooth transition.
“The Chargers organization and our family are all grateful to Dave for the dedication he has demonstrated to provide the best possible medical care to the team and my family over the past 17 years,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos. “We wish Dave a successful, full recovery from his upcoming back surgery as well as some much-deserved time with his new twins.”
“It has been my pleasure and honor to be a part of the Chargers organization for 17 years,” Chao said. “I talked to the Chargers about my back problems in March and my desire to spend more time with my newborn twins and young daughter. In addition to stepping away from the Chargers, I physically can no longer continue my work as is with the X Games and USA Rugby. I told Dr. Wahl and the team that I would remain available as a resource in any manner they see fit.
“I had the privilege of working with great leaders in Dean, AG and John Spanos as well as dozens of coaches and general managers and hundreds of players and staff, all of whom are still family to me. I’m proud of our medical team and particularly proud of the recent unanimous positive endorsement given by the independent panel of physicians that evaluated our work with the Chargers.”
Chao will continue his private sports medicine and orthopedic practice at Oasis as well as pursue research, academic and product development interests. He also will continue his charitable work on behalf of the San Diego Sports Medicine Foundation, including the Taste at the Cove event supported annually by the Chargers.
Chao added, “I’m really looking forward to spending time with my wife and kids and getting back to full strength and continue to serve my private practice patients.”
Dr. Wahl graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado in 1990 and received his Medical Degree from Yale University School of Medicine in 1996. He has previously served as Team Physician for the University of Washington while working for the University’s Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Wahl completed a sports medicine and shoulder surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
“We’re looking forward to having Chris join our team and providing quality care for years to come,” said Spanos.